Scholarships and allowances for rural students

A range of allowances and scholarships are available for students in rural and remote locations who live away from the family home to attend school.

Living away from home allowance

The Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA) assists eligible NSW families whose children must board away from home to access secondary education. Pre-conditions for eligibility relate to income and distance from the nearest public secondary school or school of preferred religion. Applicants must also meet further criteria such as a medical condition or impassable roads.

  • Check the closing date for the current year on the LAFHA application (PDF 917 KB) before completing it.
  • Applications must be received before 30 June each year.
  • If successful, applications received between 1 July and 30 September will only be paid for half a year.
  • Applications received after 30 September cannot be approved for that year.

Boarding scholarships for isolated students

Boarding Scholarships for Isolated Students (BSIS) assist eligible students from rural areas who are required to board to attend NSW public specialist high schools – including agricultural boarding schools – or those required to board at a school term hostel to access a NSW public secondary school. Scholarships are available for students in Years 7 to 12 who are disadvantaged by a low family income and geographical isolation.

Applicants must:

  • have been accepted either at a NSW public specialist school or an agricultural boarding school
  • need to board at a school term hostel to access a NSW public secondary school.

Australian Government assistance

The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme (AIC) is an Australian Government program that targets students who cannot attend a public school because the family home is geographically isolated or the students have a disability or special needs. It is managed by the Department of Human Services – see the AIC guidelines for further information.

Check eligibility and make a claim for payment through Services Australia.

The NSW Department of Education is required, in specific cases, to support an AIC application. All requests for a statement of support are considered on a case-by-case basis. A statement may be provided if applying under '4.3 students with special needs':

  • student needs to be removed from local school environment
  • student would suffer serious educational disadvantage at local school.

To request a statement of support from the rural and distance education team:

Further information

Contact the Rural and Distance Education unit for further information on programs and scholarships for rural teachers and students.


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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