February 23, 2021

Benefits increase a welcome boost for students and universities

The Innovative Research Universities (IRU) group has welcomed confirmation that a $50 per fortnight increase in jobseeker benefits will also apply to students claiming Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy.

The Prime Minister announced a package of changes to unemployment benefits at a Parliament House press conference this afternoon, including a permanently increase of JobSeeker payments once the fortnightly $150 coronavirus supplement ends on 31 March 2021.

Speaking at the press conference, Minister for Families and Social Services Senator Anne Ruston said the uplift would also apply to eligible students.

The IRU, which represents seven comprehensive universities across Australia, has been urging the Government to ensure Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy students are included in any uplift, following media reports on Friday that JobSeeker payments were set to rise.

Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy provide vital support to university students who may not otherwise be able to afford to undertake full-time study. Providing adequate financial help to students also helps reduce drop-out rates, which has benefits for universities, taxpayers and wider society.

Commenting, IRU Executive Director Conor King said:

“Real increases to student income support are very rare. An increase is much more important to students’ capacity to study than raising or reducing HECS-HELP charges.

“The increase to Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy will not only benefit eligible students, it also benefits taxpayers by reducing the pressure to cease study due to the costs of living.”