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Schooling requirement

Last updated 7 February 2019

A child or an independent student meets the schooling requirement for each six-month period, starting 1 July or 1 January, if both of the following are true:

  • one of the following applies        
    • they are registered or enrolled in a primary or secondary school course provided at an educational institution such as a school or TAFE
    • they are registered or enrolled with the education authority of their state or territory as a home schooled student
    • they are registered or enrolled in a course of study or instruction and the Minister administering the Student Assistance Act 1973 says the education tax refund applies
  • they attended the course of study or instruction, or received the home schooling, at least one day in a six-month period starting from 1 July or 1 January.

Where a child or independent student starts or leaves school during the year, or for other reasons only meets the criteria for one half of the year, you or the independent student can claim the refund for that half of the year.

Example 1 - starting primary school

Grant is enrolled in primary school in December 2010 but his first day of primary school is in February 2011. In January, his parents buy him stationery, including crayons, paints and other learning materials. Grant meets the schooling requirement from 1 January to 30 June 2011 as he is enrolled at a school and attended school at least one day in that six-month period.

Subject to meeting the other eligibility requirements, Grant's mother Pam, who receives family tax benefit (FTB) Part A payment, can claim half of the ETR in her 2011 tax return. As Grant did not attend school for the first half of the 2010-11 year (1 July to 30 December 2010) Pam cannot claim the refund for this period.

End of example


Example 2 - transition from primary to secondary school

Anthony starts Year 7 at a New South Wales secondary school in February 2011. Anthony's parents purchase a computer for him in March 2011. As Anthony also attended Year 6 at primary school the year before, he meets the schooling requirement for the whole of the 2010-11 income year.

As Anthony's father, Peter, receives FTB Part A payment, he can claim the full amount of the ETR in his 2011 tax return.

In addition, as Anthony transitioned from primary school to secondary school during the 2010-11 year, Peter can claim for the amount for a secondary school student for the whole year up to $1,588.

End of example


Example 3 - an independent student

Will is 22 and completing his secondary schooling. He has a part-time job and receives Youth Allowance. From 1 July 2010 to December 2010, he completes Year 11. Will is an independent student for the purposes of the ETR and in August 2010, he purchases a computer for his studies. In February 2011, Will goes on a six-month overseas school exchange program, paid for by fundraising. Will can only claim half of the refund for his educational expenses as he did not attend school in Australia in the six-month period starting 1 January 2011.

End of example