In a battle that has been fought over a number of years, The Nationals are proud to announce a significant change to Youth Allowance, which will open the door for thousands more regional students to benefit from the scheme.
Students wanting to attend university, particularly those from farms, have long been disadvantaged by the methods used to quantify their family’s assets and hence eligibility to gain Youth Allowance. After years of advocating for change, The Nationals in Government have announced exciting new developments, which will ultimately enable more regional students to attend university.
For many years we have advocated to change the parameters of Youth Allowance to allow more regional students to benefit from the scheme. The issue has been repeatedly raised at NSW Annual General Conferences and fiercely pursued by Members of Parliament.
Regional students have struggled with the costs of relocating to complete studies and training. In the past, this has been made significantly worse if a regional student happens to be from a farm or small business where the property assets have counted towards the means test. This meant that farming families who were asset-rich but cash-poor would have difficulties obtaining government support for their children’s continuing education.
The Nationals have announced that those particular hurdles, known as the Family Asset Test and the Family Actual Means Test, will be removed from the Youth Allowance Personal Income Test. Removing these tests will benefit regional youth, allowing thousands more to qualify for Youth Allowance starting 1 January 2016.
These changes have the potential to help bridge the gap between the numbers of metropolitan and regional students completing tertiary education. Federal Nationals Members of Parliament and members of the Party have fought long and hard for changes to be made to Youth Allowance to allow regional young people greater access to education opportunities.