More than 1500 studying sole parents better off

  • Anne Tolley
Social Development

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says changes to accommodation support for studying sole parents mean that more parents are accessing higher rates of the support.

“The majority of sole parents who are studying full time are now receiving the same accommodation support they would if they were on a benefit, leaving them on average $38.88 a week better off,” Mrs Tolley says.

“Sole Parents spend on average 14 years on a benefit, but we know that tertiary education can significantly reduce the average time they spend on welfare so we’re making it as easy as possible for them to transition to study.

“Under the student system the maximum accommodation assistance is $60 a week, but under changes that came into effect on 1 July last year, studying sole parents could receive up to $165 extra per week.

“1515 sole parents are now receiving more than the student maximum and all sole parent students receiving accommodation support receive on average $89.22 a week for accommodation costs.

“As the policy takes effect when each student begins their next study period, the majority of sole parent students received the new rate in March of this year.

“We knew a decrease in accommodation assistance was a disincentive for sole parents to move off a benefit and into study. This policy removes that barrier to higher education, encouraging more parents to take steps towards sustainable and rewarding employment.

“On average beneficiaries with a tertiary qualification spend six and a half years less on a benefit compared to those without, so supporting them into full time study is a good investment in their futures, and their children’s future,” Mrs Tolley says.