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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1994  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/1994   
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Contents >> Income >> Sources of Income: Tertiary student income

Sources of Income: Tertiary student income

In 1992, 31% of full-time tertiary students received regular financial support (over $30 a week) from a member of their family not living with them.

Tertiary students gain their income from diverse sources. In 1992, full-time tertiary students were either mainly receiving income from paid employment (35%), in receipt of government assistance (mainly AUSTUDY) (27%) or being supported by family or partners (23%). The remainder (15%) had other main sources of income such as self-employment and investments. Part-time students were predominantly wage and salary earners and therefore differed in their income characteristics from full-time students.


Government support for full-time students is available in the form of a means tested allowance that is intended to contribute towards their living costs. The current allowance scheme, AUSTUDY, is a development of the Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme (TEAS) which was introduced in 1973. Prior to the introduction of TEAS, financial support for students came mainly from Commonwealth and State scholarships which were paid to approximately 55% of full-time higher education students. When TEAS was introduced, tuition fees for higher education were also abolished making tertiary education more accessible than it had been in the past. On introducing the TEAS legislation, it was suggested that 'allowances ought to be sufficient to give students the leisure to think as they pursued their studies'. This statement highlights the dilemma facing students; the compromise between obtaining income and studying. AUSTUDY replaced TEAS in 1986 and changes in the means testing rules directed study assistance more towards students in low-income families
2.

In 1989, tuition fees were reintroduced for higher education institutions in the form of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS). Students may pay the charge directly (and receive a 25% discount) or may elect to pay the charge later through the taxation system when their taxable income exceeds a minimum level (currently average weekly earnings)
3.

SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF TERTIARY STUDENTS AGED 15-24 YEARS, 1992

Student status

Full-time
Part-time
Characteristics
%
%

Married or de facto
3.5
12.6
Nature of occupancy
      Renting
26.5
19.5
      Boarding
12.8
41.8
      Free rent or board with parents
57.2
31.2
Receiving regular financial assistance(a) from family not living with them
31.2
10.7
Principal source of income
      Wages or salary
35.5
79.0
      Government pension or benefit
27.2
13.8
      Nil or partner's income
22.5
4.1
      Other sources
14.8
3.2
'000
'000
Total students
406.5
256.3


(a) Over $30 a week.

Source: Survey of Families in Australia


Student incomes

Tertiary students
included in this review are those who were aged 15-24 years and were studying at a university (higher education), a technical or a TAFE college in 1992.

Students may receive income from a variety of sources including wages and salaries, government benefits (particularly AUSTUDY), and regular payments from parents. However, income is not necessarily a good measure of their economic well-being because students may be in receipt of substantial payment in kind, such as free accommodation and payment of a range of other expenses, from parents. The expectation that parents will contribute to the support of their dependent children while they undertake tertiary study is reflected in the means testing of AUSTUDY payments on the basis of the parents' income. Thus, students who do not qualify for AUSTUDY and receive their income mainly from paid part-time work may still be principally supported by their parents.


Selected AUSTUDY rates, 1992


In 1992, the year on which much of this analysis is based, maximum weekly independent rates for students without dependents were: 16-17 years - $106; 18-21 years - $117; 21 years and over - $139.


Maximum weekly living-at-home rates were: 16-17 years - $64; 18-21 years - $77; 21 years and over - $91
1.



Principal source of income

Part-time tertiary students' incomes came predominantly from wages or salary in 1992, particularly among those studying at TAFE colleges. Full-time students had a more diverse distribution of income sources, although overall, 35% stated wage or salary earnings as their principal source of income. 23% of full-time students and 4% of part-time students had no income themselves or relied on their partner's income. The majority (72%) of full-time students who stated nil or partner's income were dependent children living with their parent(s). Only a very small proportion of students who stated nil or partner's income were married or in a de facto partnership. This is due to the small proportion of full-time and part-time students (3% and 13% respectively) who were married or in de facto partnerships.


Another indicator of the level of parental support given to students (not necessarily only to those with no income) is that 59% of full-time students and 32% of part-time tertiary students lived rent or board free, usually with their parent(s). In addition, 31% and 11% of full-time and part-time students respectively, received regular financial assistance (over $30 a week) from family members not living with them.


Government pensions or benefits were the principal source of income for 24% of full-time higher education students and 39% of full-time TAFE students. Most of these students received AUSTUDY only from government sources but their incomes may have been supplemented by other sources such as parents or part-time work. However, for 68% of students who received AUSTUDY only from government sources, the AUSTUDY allowance represented over 91% of their total income.

PRINCIPAL SOURCE OF INCOME OF FULL-TIME STUDENTS AGED 15-24 YEARS BY TYPE OF TERTIARY INSTITUTION, 1992

Higher education
Technical/TAFE college


Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons
Principal source of income
%
%
%
%
%
%

Wages or salary
31.7
41.0
36.4
33.6
30.0
31.9
Government pension/benefit.
25.7
22.8
24.3
32.6
45.0
38.6
Nil/partner's income
21.5
22.7
22.1
26.8
21.2*
24.1
Other sources(a)
21.1
13.5
17.2
6.9*
* *
5.4*
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
Total
160.3
163.6
323.9
43.5
39.1
82.6


(a) Includes own business or share in partnership, investments and other sources.

Source: Survey of Families in Australia

INCOME DISTRIBUTION OF STUDENTS AGED 15-24 YEARS WHO RECEIVED INCOME, 1992
Full-time students
Part-time students

Source: Survey of Families in Australia


Gross weekly income

In 1992, almost a quarter (23%) of full-time tertiary students usually received no weekly income. Of those who did receive income, 46% received under $100 a week and 14% received over $200 a week.


The income distribution pattern for part-time students, who were mainly wage and salary earners, was the opposite to that of full-time students. Only 4% had no income and 71% of those who received income received over $200 a week.


In general, the patterns of income distribution for students were similar for men and women. However, among part-time students a larger proportion of women than men were represented in the lower income ranges.


Male part-time higher education students whose principal source of income was wages or salary had the highest median income ($413). The lowest median income ($78) occurred among full-time male TAFE students whose principal source of income was government pensions or benefits.


When examined by age, the median income of students whose principal source of income was government pensions or benefits was predictably aligned to the age-specific AUSTUDY allowances. For students whose principal source of income was wages or salary, median incomes generally increased with age, a pattern related to age-specific rates of pay and labour force experience.

MEDIAN GROSS WEEKLY INCOME OF STUDENTS AGED 15-24 YEARS BY PRINCIPAL SOURCE AND SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS, 1992

Government pension or benefit
Wages or salary


Males
Females
Males
Females
Characteristics
$
$
$
$

Higher education
      Full-time
106
86
112
102
      Part-time
141*
142*
413
304
Technical/TAFE
      Full-time
78
90
183
104
      Part-time
124
80
317
332
Age group (years)
      15-16
64*
* *
183*
142*
      17-18
77
77
232
105
      19-20
83
79
255
139
      21-22
127
117
310
247
      23-24
142
142
415
424
All students
100
89
269
161


Source: Survey of Families in Australia


Paid employment

83% of part-time students worked in paid employment, and most of these worked full-time (over 35 hours a week). 42% of full-time students worked in paid employment and nearly all of them worked less than 20 hours a week. Students looking for part-time work have benefited from the structural changes that have taken place in the labour market. The growth of service industries, which favour part-time workers, have made more part-time jobs available (see
Trends in part-time work).
DISTRIBUTION OF WEEKLY PAID HOURS WORKED BY STUDENTS AGED 15-24 YEARS, 1992

Student status

Full-time
Part-time
Number of hours
%
%

None
58.4
17.1
1-9
19.8
2.8
10-19
14.5
3.4
20-34
4.1
7.7
35 or more (full-time)
3.2
69.0
Total
100.0
100.0


Source: Survey of Families in Australia


Endnotes

1 Department of Employment, Education and Training (1993)
Report on the Operation of the Student Assistance Act 1992.

2 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training (1991)
Student Financial Assistance.

3 Australian Taxation Office and Department of Employment, Education and Training (1994)
HECS: Your Questions Answered.



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