Disadvantaged students and public transport costs - Education Matters
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New program to assist with public transport costs for disadvantaged students

State-Schools-Relief-public-transport-program-for-disadvantaged-students

Victorian based not-for-profit, State Schools’ Relief, has launched a pilot Myki program that aims to help 1000 disadvantaged students across the state attend school by assisting with the cost of public transport.

According to the VCOSS Stronger Early Childhood report, some students stay home and miss school because they cannot afford the cost of public transport, while others travel without paying and risk getting fined.

The report also supports that free travel passes will help support school attendance, reduce drop-outs and promote participation in after-school or social activities.

In Victoria, the cost of an annual Myki card, which is used for Victoria’s Myki smartcard ticketing system, is more than what many students living in financially difficult circumstances ca afford. Through the new pilot Myki program, State Schools’ Relief is hoping to provide 1000 primary and secondary students with approximately 3 months’ travel at a concession rate to enable them to attend school more regularly.

“This pilot program will address a key barrier to engaging with education, which is the ability to travel safely to and from school. At State Schools’ Relief, we believe that ensuring access to public transport will result in a myriad of positive outcomes, including increased attendance rates, engagement and a greater sense of wellbeing,” said CEO of State Schools’ Relief, Sue Karzis.

Beginning in Term 1, 2020, Victorian schools will have the opportunity to place applications for Myki cards for any students experiencing significant financial hardship, preventing them from attending school due to the cost of travel.

Each card will be sent via registered post directly to the school with an initial $100 value. Students will then be able to receive a further two $100 top ups upon completion of a short survey.

Teachers of Victorian primary and secondary students who may be struggling to attend school due to a lack of access to public transport can apply for the Myki cards via the State Schools’ Relief website. Applications will open from Term 1, 2020.