Guide to School Drive Subsidy payments
Transport for NSW administers the School Drive Subsidy. It is available to NSW residents in areas without public transport. The subsidy helps eligible students get to school by car. It only covers part of the cost, not all of it.
School Drive Subsidy Payments are calculated based on:
- the distance of your approved one-way daily school journey in kilometres for all your eligible students,
- the School Drive Subsidy daily rate per kilometre,
- the number of days the student attends the school during the semester (January to June or July to December).
Note: The per kilometre rate is based on a return journey being made each day. If the journey is only made one-way per day, then the per kilometre rate will be halved.
The School Drive Subsidy pays $0.73 per kilometre if you use a car for travel during semester 2, 2023 and semester 1, 2024. If you use a motorcycle or boat, the subsidy is $0.365 per kilometre. This rate changes every year.
School journey example 1
One child being driven to school
Andy drives his daughter Zoe to her high school every morning, a distance of 8 km. In the afternoon he picks her up from school and does the same journey in reverse.
Zoe attends school for 90 days in the semester.
At the end of the semester, the school will confirm Zoe’s attendance. Andy will receive:
8 km x $0.73 per km x 90 days = $525.60 for the semester.
School journey example 2
Three children are being driven to different locations. One child is being taken to the nearest pick up point for transportation, while the other two are going to separate day schools.
Sarah has three children, Nathan (Year 10), Jack (Year 6) and Chloe (Year 3).
On her school run she drives all three children in the car. After leaving home each morning she:
- drives from home to the nearest school bus stop (5.6 km) and drops off Nathan
- then drives to Jack's school (another 3.9 km) and drops him off
- then drives to Chloe's school (another 2.3 km), drops her off and returns home.
In the afternoon, she does the same journey in reverse to pick up Chloe, then Jack, then Nathan.
Sarah's total one-way school journey is 5.6 km + 3.9 km + 2.3 km = 11.8 km.
All three children attend school for the same 90 days during the school semester.
At the end of the semester, once the schools have confirmed each student's attendance, Sarah will receive:
- 11.8 km x $0.73 per km x 90 days = $775.26 for the semester.
- Because Nathan is only driven as far as the nearest transport pick up point, he is also eligible to apply for a free school travel pass. The subsidy is calculated based on the student who attended the most school days if each student has a different attendance for the semester.
School journey example 3
Two students in shared parental responsibility, one not
Jane and Peter are no longer together. They have two children, William and Emily. William is in Year 9 and Emily is in Year 7. The children are at the same school. The children live with Jane for three nights a week and with Peter for two nights a week, during the school week. Jane also has another child named Mia, who is in Year 4 from a different relationship.
Jane's school run is as follows:
On the days when William and Emily are at home with Jane, she drives all three children in the car. After leaving home in the morning, she:
- drives from home to Mia's school (3.5 km) and drops her off
- then drives to the nearest school bus stop (6.2 km) and drops off William and Emily
- then returns home
In the afternoons, she does the same journey in reverse to pick up William and Emily, then Mia.
Jane's total one-way school journey on these days is 3.5 km + 6.2 km = 9.7 km.
On the days when she only has Mia at home, Jane drives Mia to school (3.5 km) and then picks her up again in the afternoon.
Jane's one-way school journey on these days is 3.5 km.
All Jane's children attend school for the same 90 days in the semester. As Jane has parental responsibility for William and Emily for three out of five days in the school week, she can claim for 60% of those days for Journey A.
At the end of the semester, schools will confirm each student's attendance. Jane will receive a School Drive Subsidy payment as follows:
- For Journey A: 9.7 km x $0.73 per km x 90 days x 60% = $382.38
- For Journey B: 3.5 km x $0.73 per km x 90 days = $229.95
A total (Journey A + Journey B) subsidy of $612.33 for the semester.
- William and Emily can apply for a free school travel pass. because they are only driven to the nearest transport pick up point.
- Peter can claim a School Drive Subsidy for two days per week when he has parental responsibility. The school journey from his home needs to meet the eligibility criteria.
School journey example 4
One student driven to boarding school, returning home at weekends
- Steve drives his daughter Charlotte to boarding school at the start and end of each term and every weekend. This happens 22 times a year, or 11 times per semester. The distance for one-way is 159 km. At the end of the semester, the school will confirm Charlotte's attendance. Steve will receive a subsidy payment of:159 km x $0.73 per km x 11 return journeys = $1,276.77 for the semester.
Note: The one-way distance is only counted once, not twice, for the Charlotte's return journey.
School journey example 5
One student driven to mini-school
Tracy lives on a remote NSW property. Her son Jake is schooled through distance learning and attends the same mini-school once every fortnight (92 km from home).
Tracy can claim a School Drive Subsidy for the days when she drives Jake to mini-school. She does an online application with the following journey:
- Drive Jake from home to mini-school
- Return same day
Tracey makes 11 return journeys to the mini-school with Jake during the semester.
At the end of the semester, once the mini-school has confirmed Jake's attendance, Tracey will receive a subsidy payment of:
- 92 km x $0.73 per km x 11 days = $738.76 for the semester.
Note: The one-way distance is only counted once, not twice, for Jake's return school journey.
The School Drive Subsidy is paid twice a year. The payments are made around February and August. The subsidy is for the preceding semester, which includes January to June and July to December. When you first apply, we ask you for your bank details during the application process.
After you have given us details of your daily school journey and we approve your student/s have been approved, there's nothing else you need to do. At the end of each semester, your school will confirm attendance for the preceding semester. We use that information to calculate your subsidy payment. The amount is automatically paid into your bank account each semester.
You will receive notification by email when we've made the payment. Log into the School Drive Subsidy Parent Portal to check the status of your application or payments.
The School Drive Subsidy for semester 2, 2023 and semester 1, 2024 is $0.73 per kilometre for travel by car, or $0.365 per kilometre for travel by motorcycle or boat.
This rate is adjusted every year.
The subsidy is for driving school students to school or to the nearest transport pick up point, by car, motorcycle or boat.
Eligible students who travel to and from school daily are entitled to claim trips equal to the number of school days attended in a semester.
A weekly boarder who travels from home to their boarding school at the start and end of the week are entitled to a maximum of 22 trips per semester or 44 trips per year.
A term boarder who travels from home to their boarding school at the beginning and end of the term are entitled to a maximum of 9 trips per year.
Trips are determined based on the one-way distance between home and school or the nearest transport pickup point.
Travel to and from school is treated as a single trip. The subsidy is calculated based on the one-way distance.
Trips can also cover different purposes during school time, such as transporting sick children. Parents can request these additional trips by selecting 'Add additional journey' through the Parent Portal.
Payments are approved only for journeys where the student is physically present in the vehicle. For example, parents travelling without their child to attend a school function would not be subsidised.
Transport for NSW considers many factors when mapping the journey from home to school or the closest pickup spot for the bus. We consider the lot size, the garage location, and the nearest road/track to this point.
Parents can request a review of the approved journey by clicking 'Query journey’ on the parent portal. This helps parents share more details about where the garage is and the way taken, so that a further assessment can be completed.
You can claim a subsidy if the student drives to school or TAFE.
If the student driving themselves is the only eligible student for the subsidy, then the subsidy will be calculated on the student's journey alone.
Where multiple students are driven to the same school/TAFE, only one subsidy payment can be made for the journey with all students. If one of the students drives themselves to the same school, a separate journey is not payable.
So, for example, if a parent drives students A and B to school and student C drives themselves to the same school using a separate vehicle, the subsidy will be calculated as if student C was being driven by the parent along with students A and B.
Note: In all cases the applicant must be the parent/guardian and cannot be the student.