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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Conveyance Allowance Program

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that schools support eligible families to receive financial assistance with the cost of transporting students to and from school where the student:

  • lives in rural and regional Victoria and attends their nearest appropriate school/campus, or
  • attends an eligible specialist school

This policy applies to both government and non-government schools.

Summary

The conveyance allowance is a contribution towards transport costs and is not intended to cover the full cost of transporting children to and from school.

The conveyance allowance may be available to students attending government or non-government schools and:

  • travelling by public transport or by private car, motorbike, bicycle or bus, and
  • whose nearest school is not serviced by a free school bus provided under the School Bus Program

Schools are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the conveyance allowance.

Schools are responsible for communicating to parents/carers the travel options that are available for students in the area.

Schools administer applications for the conveyance allowance and must:

  • provide to families information about eligibility and allowance rates
  • provide to families relevant application forms (refer to Resources tab)
  • take steps to ensure, as far as is practicable, that all applications from families for the conveyance allowance are received by the school in the year prior to the year in which the families are seeking to have the conveyance allowance paid
  • submit claims received from families to the department through the online Student Conveyance Allowance System (SCAS)
  • where applications for the conveyance allowance are approved through Student Conveyance Allowance System, disburse monies received to parents/carers (unless otherwise arranged in agreement with a student’s parents/carers)

Details

VRQA Registration

Schools must ensure the school and each campus and/or special setting is registered with the Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority (VRQA) on the VRQA State Register and that the school/campus physical and postal address is correctly listed. If details are not correctly entered into the VRQA State Register, or for further information:

Victorian Student Number (VSN)

Schools must capture a student's

  • VSN — VSNs are 9-digit numbers 
  • identifying details  — name, date of birth and gender
  • enrolment date

and ensure the correct data is sent to the Victorian Student Register (VSR) via the software management system they use.

If a VSN is not presented, schools will need to determine:

  • whether the student has previously been assigned a VSN
  • whether the student is a prep student or enrolling in a Victorian school for the first time

The ongoing operation of the VSN is managed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). For enquiries about Victorian student numbers contact the VSN Operations Team on the VSN hotline 1800 822 635 or email victorian.student.register@education.vic.gov.au.

The Student Conveyance Allowance System (SCAS) uses the VRQA database for certain school information and VSN so any incorrect entry may result in applications being inaccurately assessed or delayed.

Communication with parents

Schools must:

  • familiarise themselves with this policy and the Guidance in order to respond to general enquiries made by parents about the program
  • communicate the travel options that exist in the area to parents at enrolment
  • provide application forms (in Resources) to eligible families
  • communicate closing dates for applications applicable each term. Closing dates for applications apply each term and are listed below under the heading ‘Application Processing’ as well as on the SCAS homepage (accessible by staff with user access)

Communication with the Conveyance Allowance Unit (CAU)

Schools must respond to any queries or requests for information from the CAU within 7 days of the request.

Eligibility

Schools must submit applications for the conveyance allowance through SCAS. 

Prior to submitting the applications, schools must check all information in the application is accurate. SCAS will then assess, based on the information in the application, whether the student satisfies the eligibility criteria established by the Minister for Education and Training. Further detail about the eligibility criteria is set out under the Guidance tab.

Instrument of Specification: Transport Services and Travelling Allowances

Criteria for determining whether a school is appropriate for a student have been specified by the Minister under section 104(1) of the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (the Regulations) — Instrument of Specification: Transport Services and Travelling Allowances. Further information about eligibility criteria is set out in the Guidance tab.

Eligibility for students attending a non-government school

The eligibility criteria include the requirement that a student attending a non-government school is attending the nearest appropriate school (that is 4.8km or more from the student’s residence).

However, a student attending a non-government school that is not the student’s nearest school may apply to the CAU for a determination that the nearest religious non-government school, which has compulsory religious instruction, is not considered ‘appropriate’ for that student where that student does not belong to or associate with the school’s particular religion or engage in religious activities associated with that school’s religious doctrines. Please see the Guidance tab for information on how to request a CAU review of this criteria.

Refer to Instrument of Specification — Transport Services and Travelling Allowances

Application Processing

There are four claim periods with each period corresponding to one of the 4 terms of the school year.

Schools must process all applications through the SCAS prior to the closing dates for each claim period as set out below. This means that a school must submit a claim 4 times a year (once in each claim period) if a student is to receive the allowance for the entire year.

Closing dates for 2021

Claim period

Claim submission closing date

Estimated pay run date

Term 1 12 March 2021 26 March 2021
Term 2 4 June 2021 18 June 2021
Term 3 27 August 2021 10 September 2021
Term 4 ​​26 November 2021 10 December 2021

Information about SCAS and the administration of the conveyance allowance is in the Guidance tab in the ‘Processing applications’ section.

Schools must check, verify and sign each application confirming the information provided by parents/carers is correct including the availability of public transport and distance travelled. Schools must sight and confirm public transport ticket purchase when checking and verifying an application for public transport ticket costs.

Incorrect information may result in the application being declined or payment of the claim being delayed.

Allowance Payments

The conveyance allowance is paid by the department to students’ families via the school. Schools are responsible for distributing conveyance allowance funds in a timely manner to families.

Late applications

All claims must be submitted by schools, through SCAS, during the current calendar year. Late applications cannot be accepted after the Term 4 closing date (listed above under the heading ‘Application Processing’). Applications cannot be made for retrospective payments for prior years.

Withholding of the conveyance allowance by schools

The conveyance allowance is for the student named on the application form. Schools must not withhold any part of the allowance in lieu of fees or late payments. 

Parents/carers may authorise the school to use their conveyance allowance towards procured bus services/tickets by providing written consent. The application form contains a section for parents/carers to provide this consent.

Schools must not withhold the conveyance allowance for the purpose of paying for procured bus services for school excursions.

Record keeping

Schools must retain the application forms signed by parents/carers for a period of seven years. This is required for auditing purposes.

School audit process — audit of school processes

As part of a government school’s School Council Financial Assurance process, or independent audit of non-government schools, schools are to provide information to the auditor about compliance with this policy including any case of overpayment. 

Schools must provide their auditor with a sample of 20 applications or 20% of all applications received by the school within the audit period, whichever is the greater.

CAU audit process — audit of school processes by CAU

The CAU will conduct an annual audit of randomly selected schools. The audits will review a sample of completed application forms (including evidence of ticket purchases where applicable).

In addition, schools may be asked to provide a certificate from the school’s auditor or an extract from the school audit concerning compliance with this policy. Schools are required to provide this information on request.

Definitions

Designated Neighbourhood School (DNS)
Designated neighbourhood schools can be identified at Find My School.

Nearest appropriate school
The nearest ‘appropriate’ school for government school students is the nearest government school/campus to a student’s primary residence that is suitable at their year level, measured by the shortest practicable route, or the student’s DNS.

The nearest ‘appropriate’ school/campus for students attending non-government schools is determined by the denomination of the school. The nearest ‘appropriate’ school/campus for non-government school students is the nearest non-government campus to a student’s primary residence of their chosen denomination that is suitable at their year level, measured by the shortest practicable route.

PTV
Refer to Public Transport Victoria

Shortest practical route
Using residential property coordinates, SCAS determines a route between the student’s address and the school/campus attended. SCAS uses the shortest distance between two points using all-weather public roads drivable by car.

Student Transport and Allowance Branch
The STAB branch oversees the policy development and operational delivery for the School Bus Program, Students with Disabilities Transport Program, and the Conveyance Allowance Program.

CAU
Conveyance Allowance Unit, located within STAB, Financial Services Division, Finance, Policy and Infrastructure Services

STU
Student Transport Unit, located within STAB, Financial Services Division, Finance, Policy and Infrastructure Services

SCAS
Student conveyance allowance system

VRQA
Refer to Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority

Relevant legislation

Department policy on the Conveyance Allowance Program (CAP), which supports families with student transport costs

Reviewed 12 February 2021

Policy last updated

20 November 2020

Scope

  • Schools
  • All Department staff
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