THE federal Coalition is still to decide on how it intends to make university more affordable for country students.
If they jointly win government in September, the Nationals want to immediately abolish one of the major obstacles to families being able to access government support for their children.
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They want to replace the much-criticised means test, or parental income test, with a simpler distance qualification.
Some Coalition MPs seek a new rule where any student living more than 90 minutes from where they've been accepted to university will not have their allowances means tested.
Many hundreds of country students do not qualify for youth allowance, or other forms of government assistance, because their parents earn more than $150,000 a year.
Many more fail to qualify because their parents own farms that exceed assets test limits (generally $627,000).
"Asset- rich but income-poor and our kids pay the price," a central Victorian dairy farmer, whose son began university this week, said.
Even students who qualify as independent, under a complicated government formula that includes being forced to take a gap year, are shocked to find they have to pass parental income tests.
"It's a farce, either they're independent or they're not," Gippsland federal National MP Darren Chester said.
Mr Chester and other Coalition MPs are lobbying Liberal colleagues to adopt a new policy to help country students.
He favours a $10,000 tertiary access allowance.
"Everyone agrees country kids are not being given a fair go at the moment, all the studies show too many of them aren't going to uni," he said.
National Senator Bridget McKenzie from Bendigo said there were too many barriers for country students, adding:
"Geography has determined you are less able to participate in tertiary education."
The Federal Government said it was delivering on its promise of increased help with about $2 billion expected to be paid to university students through youth allowance this year - a 23 per cent increase in two years.
A spokesman said 42 per cent more students from regional areas had got the allowance in the past 2 1/2 years.