Away from Base Mixed-Mode program (AFB)

The Government supports improved educational access for Indigenous Australians, particularly those people living in remote and regional areas where educational opportunities may be limited.

The Away from Base (AFB) Mixed-Mode program supports Indigenous students who are studying an approved mixed-mode course by distance education to access compulsory course elements in another location away from their permanent home for short periods of time.

A ‘mixed-mode’ AFB course is a nationally accredited course that is delivered through a combination of distance education and face-to-face residential teaching. AFB contributes towards the costs of travel, meals and accommodation only. AFB is not available for students enrolled in full time on campus studies, nor does it cover the course delivery costs.

AFB funding is provided directly to eligible higher education and not-for-profit Registered Training Organisations. AFB is intended to assist these providers to accelerate educational outcomes for Indigenous students beyond those which would reasonably be expected from mainstream and own-source funding. It supplements provider core funding and cannot be used to substitute or replace it.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) are responsible for another ABSTUDY AFB program which is administered by Centrelink and paid to the eligible student or their institution directly. For information on that program please view the ABSTUDY Policy Manual.

Students can only be supported under one AFB program. They cannot receive support under the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet AFB program and the DHS/DSS AFB Program.

More Information

The AFB Mixed-Mode Program is administered under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

Key dates for the AFB Program are available PDF 32.8 KB | DOCX 14.2 KB

AFB Futures Discussion Paper

AFB was once administered as a single program, but split almost two decades ago, with one programme now administered under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and the other administered under ABSTUDY. Since the program separated, there has been no thorough investigation as to whether two separate programs continue to offer eligible students the most effective assistance.

This discussion paper seeks to engage with those that use and administer AFB support, with the aim of considering the two program model currently in place. It is designed to seek feedback on activities currently funded through AFB programs.

We are particulaly seeking input from providers and peak bodies that assist students who currently use the program.


Step 1: Read the Discussion Paper

Step 2: Provide your response using our Response Template - DOCX 29 KB

Step 3: Submit your response by 2 November 2018.

You can send your response via email at or by post:

AFB Review
Education, Community Safety and Health Division
Indigenous Affairs Group
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
GPO Box 6500

We will read every submission and are grateful for the time and effort you have given to helping us ensure AFB support assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students participate in further education.

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