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27 October 2021

Study supports and the NDIS.

Are you a school student? Keen to start a new course or go to university? That’s great! The NDIS may be able to help.

Supports to help you study can be a bit complicated. That’s because the NDIS only funds study supports when they meet certain criteria and are not the responsibility of someone else, like a school or university.

Today, we unpack the rules around study supports so you can be confident about the options available.


NDIS and mainstream study supports.

Study supports refers to the extra support you need because of your disability to:

  • Study at school
  • Study at university or TAFE
  • Try things like volunteering or work experience.

The NDIS will only fund study supports that are not funded through another program or service – called ‘mainstream supports’.

Most supports relating to study will come from mainstream service providers which include schools, universities and TAFE colleges. You may even have to pay for some yourself, such as textbooks that all students are required to buy.

However, the NDIS may provide additional supports that you need because of your disability.


Is the support reasonable and necessary?

The NDIS will only fund study support when it is considered “reasonable and necessary”.

It must be:

  • Related to your disability: For example personal care you need because of your disability when you are at school or university
  • Connected to your goals: You have a goal in your NDIS Plan that relates to study such as going to university
  • Effective and beneficial: Such as building skills to achieve your goals over time. The NDIS will not provide funding if you are not likely to pass the course or are likely to withdraw from the course
  • Legal and safe: Must comply with state and territory laws and be considered safe
  • Value for money: The NDIS will not provide funding if other supports are likely to achieve the same outcome at a lower cost
  • Not funded by someone else: Including mainstream services, education departments, or your school, TAFE or university
  • Not provided by friends, family or the community: It is reasonable to expect family members to help with homework or getting to and from school. However they are not expected to provide personal care at school.


Study supports the NDIS can fund.

  • Extra supports needed because of your disability
  • Supports to help you move from school to further study, training or work
  • Personal care during study such as help with going to the toilet, eating or drinking
  • Travel to and from study if you are unable to travel independently (see transport guidelines for details)
  • Training for teachers at school, university, TAFE or employers (during placements) about your support needs
  • Support to participate in projects run by a university for people with disabilities.


Study supports the NDIS won’t fund.

  • Changes to buildings where you study such as installing ramps or lifts
  • Study equipment such as textbooks and standard technology
  • Anything related to teaching and learning such as staffing, supervision, tutoring and learning support
  • School fees, course fees or excursion costs
  • After school care
  • Cost of phone calls, photocopying, stationery or meals while studying
  • School based work experience (except where additional support is needed because of your disability)
  • Other things that everyone needs to pay for.


How your place of study can assist.

By law, your place of study is responsible for removing any barriers so you can do your study on the same basis as someone without a disability.

They should:

  • Provide anything that is part of education and learning including supports needed for remote learning
  • Make reasonable adjustments as required to study or resources so information is provided in a way you understand
  • Ensure you can get into and around your school or place of education
  • Make sure you have the same opportunities as other students to participate in classes and activities.


Getting study supports in your NDIS Plan.

Here are some tips for getting NDIS support for study:

  1. Include a study-related goal
  2. Be prepared to talk about your school, university or training provider and any support they give you at your NDIS Plan meeting
  3. Think about additional supports you might need
  4. Gather together school reports or related assessments
  5. Get a letter from your place of study outlining any additional disability-related needs.

For more information, check out the NDIS guide to Work and study supports.


Do you use the Leap in! app?

The Leap in! app lets you keep all your information in one, secure place and can invite members of your family, support coordinators, support workers, providers or support crew to read or add to your information.

Plus, you can manage your NDIS funds, prepare for your NDIS meeting and manage your NDIS Plan.

Find out more about the Leap in! app on our website.

If you’d like to connect with us,call 1300 05 78 78, email connect@leapin.com.au or use the chat function on our website.


Further reading

Kickstart your career with a paid internship.

NDIS budget categories: Improved Learning

The NDIS and employment: Creating new opportunities.