Student travel subsidies

Find out more about the scheme, including the entitlements, whether you are eligible, proof of eligibility and how to apply.

The Student Travel Subsidy Scheme provides travel assistance to eligible school and tertiary students who live in Western Australia to overcome geographical isolation from schools and other educational institutions

  About the Student Travel Subsidy Scheme

The Student Travel Subsidy Scheme provides travel assistance to school and tertiary students who are geographically isolated. The two main types of travel support are:

  • A fares allowance for air, bus and train travel for eligible students who live within the defined remote area of Western Australia (see map)
  • A road travel subsidy for eligible students who live anywhere within Western Australia but who must be driven in a private vehicle more than 56 km from home to the nearest:
    • Appropriate government school with boarding facilities offering classes in the grade or level in which the student is enrolled, or
    • Regular passenger transport (bus depot, airport or train station) or school bus service operating between the student's home and the school they are attending.

Diagram showing distances from home to a school and also to the nearest bus stop

To find out about the details of the entitlements of the student travel subsidy scheme, check out the Student Travel Subsidy Scheme entitlements section.

  Student Travel Subsidy Scheme entitlements

Students deemed eligible for student travel subsidies may be entitled to a number of travel supports each calendar year:

  • Eight round road trips per family under the road travel subsidy.
  • Four return air/bus/train trips for school students under the fare allowance.
  • Four return air/bus/train trips for first year tertiary students (less than 20 years old) under the fare allowance who have not claimed previously as a tertiary student.
  • Three return air/bus/train trips for tertiary students aged less than 20 years of age who have claimed previously.
  • Two return air/bus/train trips for all other tertiary students.

The fare allowance is limited to the cost of the air/bus/train fare for the most direct route by air/bus/train between the principal family home or usual place of residence and Perth. Any additional cost must be borne by the parent(s).

The road travel subsidy provides a contribution of $0.2038 cents per kilometre travelled in a private vehicle, not including the first or the final 56 km of a round trip.

All student travel subsidy entitlements are not cumulative which means that unused entitlements from one calendar year cannot be transferred to the next year.

To determine if you are permitted to either of the student travel subsidies, check the eligibility criteria.

  Step 1: Student Travel Subsidy Scheme:  Check your eligibility

There are certain criteria which must be met to be eligible to claim the fares allowance (i.e. bus, train or air travel) and/or the road travel subsidy. This section explains who can apply for the student travel subsidies on behalf of a student(s) and the eligibility criteria the applicant and student(s) must meet for the subsidies to be payable.

To be eligible for the student travel subsidies, you must comply with the following criteria:

  • You must be an Australian citizen or hold a current permanent residency visa.
  • Your usual place of residence must be in Western Australia (but where you live in Western Australia dictates whether you are eligible for the fares allowance for air, bus or train travel, see below).
  • You must be younger than 26 years of age.
  • You must be dependent on your parent(s) (and the applicant must have primary [or joint] responsibility for the student's care and support).
  • You must not be receiving Youth Allowance, Austudy (older than 25 years) or ABSTUDY payments from Centrelink, and
  • If you are a tertiary student and have had some time between your studies, the gap between secondary and tertiary studies must not be longer than 12 months.

The geographic eligibility criteria for the fares allowance for air, bus or train travel means that the family and student(s) must live within the defined remote area of Western Australia (see map).

The road travel subsidy is available to families living anywhere in Western Australia who use a private vehicle to drive students to their educational institution. The level of subsidy payable is based on the distance to the nearest educational institution (i.e. State government school with boarding facilities offering classes in the grade/level in which the student is enrolled) or transport hub (e.g. bus stop, airport, train station or school bus service), whichever is the nearest, but which is more than 56 km one-way from the usual place of residence.

Who is a dependent person?

A student is considered dependent if they live with an adult who is legally responsible (whether alone or jointly with another person) for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the young person and the young person is in the adult's care.

A young person is not a dependent child of another person (adult), if the other person is the young person's partner, if the young person has a child (natural, adoptive or relationship child) who is wholly or substantially dependent on the young person or is financially self-supported through paid work.

  Step 2: Student Travel Subsidy Scheme:  Proof of eligibility

The applicant and student(s) is entitled to the student travel subsidies if they meet the eligibility criteria outlined in step 1. Only students residing in the defined remote area (see map) can receive a fare allowance subsidy for air/bus/train travel whereas students residing anywhere in Western Australia may be eligible for the road travel subsidy.

The applicant (usually the parent) is required to complete the registration form for their dependent student child/children. The registration form will be used to assess the eligibility for payments under the student travel subsidy scheme. To achieve this, before completing the registration form for the student travel subsidy (step 3), please ensure you have two valid forms of identification from the list below to confirm your details, such as:

  • Australian passport.
  • Permanent residency visa.
  • Australian birth certificate.
  • Western Australian driver's licence.

If you do not have any of these, you can use:

  • A Medicare Card.
  • Certificate of Citizenship by Descent.
  • An Australian Citizenship Certificate.
  • An ImmiCard.

If you do not provide the details of your Western Australian driver's licence as a means of confirming your eligibility for the subsidies, you need to provide a copy of one of the following documents to prove your residential address. The document must explicitly and directly relate to your residential address in order to be valid proof:

  • Current motor vehicle registration.
  • Rates notice.
  • Utility account (no more than 3 months old), or
  • Electoral enrolment.

The details of your student child/children's birth certificate OR evidence of permanent residency OR Certificate of Citizenship by Descent OR WA driver's licence will also be required upon registration.

  Step 3: Register for the Student Travel Subsidy Scheme (ODT55)

To receive a fares allowance for air, bus or train travel or some reimbursement of the costs of using a private vehicle to drive your child/children more than 56 km one-way to access educational opportunities, you first need to register at the beginning of each school year by completing the Student Registration form (ODT55).

The following information should help you complete the registration form appropriately. Registration forms which are not completed properly or in their entirety will be returned unprocessed and which may delay processing of travel voucher and/or fare refund applications.

What is the usual place of residence?

The usual place of residence is the principal family home and is where:

  • The student normally lives or would normally live but for the need to live away to attend school
  • Where the student and family normally live during school holidays, and
  • Where the applicant (parent)/applicant's partner lives for more than half the calendar year.

Who is a parent?

A parent is defined as:

  • A natural, adoptive or foster parent with whom the student normally lives and on whom the child/children is wholly or substantially dependent
  • The partner of the student(s) parent with whom the student(s) normally live and on whom the child/children are wholly or substantially dependent
  • A legal guardian on whom the child/children is wholly or substantially dependent, or
  • Any other adult who has primary or joint responsibility for the student(s) and on whom the child/children is wholly or substantially dependent.

Parent as the applicant:

  • If a student normally lives with both parents in the usual place of residence or principal family home, either parent can be Parent 1.
  • If the student(s) normally lives with one parent in the usual place of residence, that parent is Parent 1.
  • If the student(s) lives with one parent and the parent's partner, the student is also taken to be in the care of the partner and so either the parent or the partner can be Parent 1.
  • If the student(s) parents are not co-habiting and the student lives at different times with each parent, Parent 1 is defined as the parent officially recognised as having primary care of the student (e.g. grant of custody, receives majority allocation of Family Tax Benefit, holds a Medicare Card for the student(s), principal financial responsibility for care, etc).

Examples

Anna is the mother of Grace (aged 10) and both live on a property approximately 150 km from the local town. Anna is separated from Bob (Grace's father) but he sees Grace every weekend. Anna drops Grace off at Grace's grandmother's every second Sunday, so Grace can attend the local school. While Grace's grandmother provides a substantial degree of care for Grace, Anna has sole legal responsibility for Grace and exercises the primary care and control in regard to Grace. As a result, Grace is Anna's dependent child and Anna is Parent 1. Bob could be considered as Parent 2.

The details on the Student Registration form (ODT55) provide the information required to confirm your entitlement and process subsidy claims lodges throughout the year. You only have to complete the registration form once in a calendar year. If any of your details change at any time, however, you must email the Travel Subsidies team at travelsubsidies@transport.wa.gov.au.

ABOUT_F_ODT55_StudentRegistrationStudentTravelSubsidies.pdf icon Student registration: Student travel subsidies (Form ODT55) Kb

  Step 4: Complete necessary application forms (ODT56 - ODT57)

Travel voucher application or request for refund form (ODT56)

The Travel voucher application or request for refund form (ODT56) allows you to apply to receive a subsidy for air, bus or train travel.

The subsidy for the fare allowance for travel by air, bus or train is provided as either a travel voucher or a refund of certain air, bus or train travel costs for eligible students living in the defined remote area (see map).

Applications for a travel voucher should be received at travelsubsidies@transport.wa.gov.au at least one month before the proposed travel date. The travel voucher, which can be exchanged for a ticket, will be emailed to you. A travel voucher will not be approved if the first date of travel is more than three months in advance. If you wish to book travel more than three months in advance, you may pay for the booking and apply for a refund after the return date.

If you choose to book and pay for your air, bus or train travel rather than initially applying for a travel voucher, you can apply for a reimbursement by emailing a copy of your e-Ticket or tax invoice with the Travel voucher application or request for refund form (ODT56). Student fare refund claims must be submitted via email no later than one month after the last date of travel on the e-Ticket or tax invoice in order to receive a refund.

Travel vouchers and refunds will not be processed and will be returned for claims that are incomplete and/or not received within the specified timeframe. In addition, applications which have not been formally endorsed by the educational institution will not be accepted.

Conditions:

  1. A Travel voucher application or request for refund form (ODT56) must be completed for each student.
  2. For travel by air, the student is entitled to an amount no greater than the minimum 14-day advance purchase ticket (including GST) for the most direct route between the student's principal family home and Perth. Additional costs such as booking fees, credit card fees and charges for additional baggage will not be reimbursed. A special exemption is made for students attending WA College of Agriculture, WA School of Mines or other approved specialised education centres - these students are subsidised for the full cost of their travel.
  3. Travel is subject to the availability of bookings with the airline. If a booking is not available for the date specified on the travel voucher, you may change it. However, if you wish to change the travel date by more than two weeks, you must contact the Travel Subsidies team at travelsubsidies@transport.wa.gov.au.
  4. If a trip is cancelled, you must notify the Travel Subsidies team (travelsubsidies@transport.wa.gov.au) immediately so the travel entitlement can be reinstated. Reinstatement of the travel entitlement will depend on the cancellation conditions of the booking.
  5. The Department of Transport will not pay any fees that result from cancelling or changing travel arrangements, or from not booking early enough.
  6. A fares allowance is available to escorts of eligible students who, due to disability, are unable to travel alone.
ABOUT_F_ODT56_AppRefundTravelVoucherSSTS.pdf icon Application for refund travel voucher: Student travel subsidies (Form ODT56) Kb

Application for reimbursement for road travel subsidy (ODT57)

The road travel subsidy is available to families living anywhere in Western Australia who use a private vehicle to drive students to their educational institution. The level of subsidy payable is based on the distance to the nearest educational institution (i.e. State government school with boarding facilities offering classes in the grade/level in which the student is enrolled) or transport hub (e.g. bus stop, airport, train station or school bus service), whichever is the nearest, but which is more than 56 km one-way from the usual place of residence.

To be eligible for the road travel subsidy, the usual place of residence must be more than 56 km one-way from nearest appropriate educational institution or transport service. The distance to the nearest appropriate educational institution or transport service is the shortest practicable route measured from the principal family home to the educational institution or transport service.

The subsidy currently pays 20.38 cents per kilometre travelled in excess of 56 km in one direction (or 112 km for a round trip, i.e. the subsidy does not cover the first or last 56 km of the road trip).

Example:

Karen drives her two children to Merredin for school and completes a round trip of 500km in doing so. There is no transport hub, transport service or other appropriate school within 250 km of the usual place of residence. Karen is eligible for the road travel subsidy which will provide a contribution to the road trip cost for 388 km of this journey (500 km minus 112 km), given that the road travel subsidy does not cover the first or last 56 km of a round trip. The subsidy paid for this trip will be $79.07 and is calculated accordingly:

  • 500 km - 112 km (56 km x 2) = 388 km.
  • 388 km x 0.2038 = $79.07.

Given that families are entitled to eight round trips annually, the family in this example would receive a maximum total of $632.56 per calendar year.

Example: Bus service available

Oscar's principal family home or usual place of residence is a property below a range of hills. The nearest school is in a town over the range (School A), 60 km from Oscar's home. The nearest transport service to School A is 30 km away. Students in this area normally go to school in a town on the plains (School B), 70 km away. The nearest bus service to School B is 15 km from Oscar's home. Although Oscar lives closer to School A, his nearest appropriate State school is School B because of the presence of the bus service. Oscar is, therefore, not geographically isolated from School B and is not eligible for the road travel subsidy.

Claims for reimbursement for the road travel subsidy should be lodged at the same time as the Travel voucher application or request for refund form (ODT56) for air, bus or train travel costs (step 4a), if the road trip constitutes part of that overall trip.

If you only intend to apply for the road travel subsidy, the claim can be lodged at the end of the school year when all travel has been undertaken.It is, however, requested that the Student registration form (ODT55) be submitted at the beginning of the school year if possible.

Conditions:

  1. Only completed Application for reimbursement for road travel subsidy (ODT57) forms that have been endorsed by an educational institution will be accepted.
  2. Road travel claims must be received for processing by 31 January of each new year. For example, refund claims for the 2018 school year must be submitted by 31 January 2019 at the latest.
  3. You may be asked to provide evidence the road trips occurred on the dates provided and along the route described, e.g. through provision of fuel receipts and/or GPS.
  4. If students from more than one family are travelling together, only the parent driving the vehicle may claim the subsidy.
ABOUT_F_ODT57_AppRefundRoadTravelSubsidyStudentTravelSubsidies.pdf icon Application for refund road travel: Subsidy student travel subsidies (Form ODT57) Kb

  Step 5: Supplier creation/maintenance form (Individuals) (ODT58)

This form is only required to be completed when requesting a refund or reimbursement for air/bus/train or road travel costs.

The Supplier creation/maintenance form (Individuals) (ODT58) collects your bank account details for electronic transfer of refund or reimbursements for student travel subsidies.

You only need to complete this form once, unless your bank account details change.

Please inform the Travel Subsidies team at travelsubsidies@transport.wa.gov.au, if any of your details change during the school year.

ABOUT_F_ODT58_SupplierCreationMaintStudentTravelSubsidies.pdf icon Supplier creation maintenance: Student travel subsidies (Form ODT58) Kb

  Student Travel Subsidy Scheme: Frequently asked questions

Do I need to complete a new registration form (ODT55) every time I make a travel subsidy claim?

No, you only need to complete the registration form at the beginning of the school year. If your details change during the year, however, you must email the Travel Subsidies team at travelsubsidies@transport.wa.gov.au.

Do I need to provide a Travel voucher application or request for refund form (ODT56) or an Application for reimbursement for road travel subsidy (ODT57) at the same time I submit the Student registration form (ODT55)?

The new registration form may be accompanied with an application for a travel voucher or request for a refund for air/bus/train travel, as well as the application for a refund for road travel costs if there was a road component of the overall trip but it may also be submitted independently e.g. before the start of the new school year. After the first submission of the registration form, however, only the application forms for air/bus/train travel and road travel subsidies are required - there is no need to complete a registration form every time you claim the subsidy.

For families intending to only claim the road travel subsidy, an application for refund (ODT57) for the maximum of eight round road trips occurring within the school year and (if applicable) the supplier creation/maintenance form (ODT58) providing bank account details can be submitted together at the end of the year (and before January 31 of the following year). It is requested, however, that the Student registration form (ODT55) be submitted at the start of the school year, if possible.

Do staff at the educational institution have to personally affix the school stamp and sign and date the application forms for refund (ODT56 and ODT57) or can it be done electronically by a travel agent or other person?

The educational institution is required to endorse the subsidy claim by providing evidence the student is enrolled at their institution at the time of the claim and confirming that the journey was legitimate travel between home and that institution. Travel agents and/or other persons are not qualified to provide such a guarantee.It is also assumed that approved educational institutions must be familiar with and comply with the legislation regarding endorsement of government subsidy claims.The Department of Transport reserves the right to withhold subsidy payments if the reliability of the endorsement by the educational institution cannot be verified.

I applied for a refund for my child's return flight from Perth to Broome for mid-term break in August. The flight cost $1,770 but the refund was only $1,327. Why was I not eligible for a full refund?

Refunds are capped at the flexible fare rates offered by the airline.There are very few occasions where the full cost of travel cannot be reimbursed and this generally only occurs when travel has been booked at the last minute or changes have been made to an existing booking.

Travel vouchers can be requested for travel up to three months in advance and redeemed at travel agents (in person or via email/phone) for the required travel.The voucher redemption process ensures there are no out-of-pocket expenses for families except for any discretionary expenses.

The most practical way to ensure the cost of your child's travel is fully covered by the scheme is to apply for travel vouchers which can be redeemed when the travel is booked.

I live in Gnarabup and my child boards at a secondary college in Perth. Am I eligible for any of the student travel subsidies?

Gnarabup is not within the defined remote area and so you are not eligible for a fares allowance for air/bus/train travel. You may be eligible for the road trip subsidy if you need to travel more than 56 km one-way to access the nearest transport hub or service for your child to get to school. Local transport services operate within 12 km of your home, however, so you would not be eligible to claim the road travel subsidy. The transport services operating in the south-west do offer concessional rates for students and children.

My wife and I currently reside and work in Karratha with our children. My children will be attending school in Perth next year and we have decided to rent a house near the school where my wife and children will stay during term time. Are we eligible to claim travel subsidies for the flights back to Karratha during the holidays?

No, if the student primarily resides with a parent in the town/city where he or she attends school/tertiary institution, they are not eligible to receive travel subsidies.

My child flies home from school in Geraldton via Perth to Kununurra. Can he spend a few days in Perth with family first before flying on to Kununurra?

No, the purpose of the student travel subsidies is to reduce the amount of time children are outside parental supervision when travelling between home and school. Student travel subsidies may not be used to cover travel costs associated with family holidays and/or extended family visits, even in those instances where the student is required to travel en-route via Perth.

We live in Zanthus and our child will be boarding in Albany. What travel subsidies are we eligible for?

Zanthus is in the defined remote area and so you are eligible for a fare allowance (i.e. air, bus or train) and a road travel subsidy. Kalgoorlie is 211 km from Zanthus by private vehicle or by train on the Trans-Australian Railway. You can receive a fare allowance for train travel to Kalgoorlie and the cost of the minimum 14-day advance purchase air ticket (including GST) from Kalgoorlie to Albany. Alternatively, you are eligible for a road travel subsidy for the round trip of Zanthus to Kalgoorlie and return for 310 km (i.e. 422 km - 112 km = 310 km), or $63.18, and the minimum cost of air travel (including GST) from Kalgoorlie to Albany. SmartRiders can be used on Albany bus services.

  Student travel subsidies contacts

Service Type Suburb Business Name Phone number Phone number (secondary) Fax Pre-booking required Business Hours Email Street address Postal address Business Type Vehicle type Comments
Student travel subsidies East Perth Student travel subsidies 1300 660 147 No Monday to Friday 8:15 am until 4:30 pm. (excludes public holidays) ondemandtransport@transport.wa.gov.au 20 Brown Street, East Perth WA 6004 P.O. Box C102, Perth WA 6839 Department of Transport

 

Page last updated: Thu Dec 20 2018 3:13:48 PM