The Tertiary Access Payment (TAP) is a non-indexed, means-tested payment to school-leavers from regional or remote areas who need to relocate for full-time, higher-level tertiary education (Certificate IV and above) at an education provider located at least 90 minutes by public transport from their family home.
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This payment is part of the Australian Government response to the National Regional, Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy (Napthine Review), aimed at helping students with the costs of relocating to undertake tertiary study.
The TAP aims to strengthen tertiary education in regional and remote Australia and responds to Recommendation 2, Action 7 of the Napthine Review by encouraging regional students to access tertiary study in the year immediately following Year 12, rather than taking a gap year. The Napthine Review found taking a gap year can contribute to lower tertiary education attainment rates for students from regional or remote communities.
The TAP contributes to Closing the Gap targets, by improving participation rates of Indigenous students from regional and remote areas through improved financial support.
In 2022, students apply through Services Australia. The TAP aims to provide financial assistance to support all eligible regional students who incur costs associated with relocation. This now includes eligible students from inner regional locations. Applications open 1 January and close 31 December each calendar year for students who meet the eligibility criteria within the corresponding year.
TAP is available for school leavers who:
- meet Australian citizenship or residency requirements
- are from an inner regional, outer-regional, remote or very remote area (defined using the Australian Statistical Geography Standard - Remoteness Area classification)
- are undertaking a Certificate IV or above, at least 75 per cent of fulltime study load with a minimum duration of a year, in the year following completion of Year 12 or equivalent
- are studying face to face, or in dual delivery method, for at least part of the course
- are 22 years of age or under at the time they commence their course
- relocate to study at an education provider or Regional University Centre at least 90 minutes by public transport from their family home
- parent(s) or guardian(s) have a combined income of $250,000 or below (or be exempt from meeting this requirement).
The income threshold will enable many students with two working parents or guardians to qualify for the payment.
How to apply
Students relocating to study at a university, non-university higher education provider (NUHEP) or a vocational education and training (VET) provider must apply through Services Australia from 1 January 2022.
The TAP is a payment made in a student’s first year of eligible study. Students will only be eligible for the TAP once.
Successful applicants from outer regional and remote areas will be paid up to $5,000 in their first year of study, with two payments, $3,000 after confirmation of enrolment i.e. following the first census date, to assist with upfront costs, and $2,000 after confirmation of ongoing enrolment i.e. following the second census date.
Successful applicants from inner regional areas will be paid a single payment of $3,000 after confirmation of enrolment in your first year of study.
Detailed information on the TAP, eligibility criteria, how to apply and how payments are made are outlined in the Tertiary Access Payment Guidelines (to be published January 2022).