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Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

At Pathways 12 conference the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) explained the Interface between the Agency and Higher Education and VET providers.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (the Scheme) is a new way of providing community linking and individualised support for people with permanent and significant disability (participants), their families and carers. More information on the scheme This link will take you away from the ADCET website

The NDIA has been established to implement the scheme. The scheme is being progressively rolled out around Australia. Current sites can be found here link will take you away from the ADCET website

The Scheme is not intended to replace other mainstream systems. Indeed, the Scheme’s financial sustainability depends on other systems continuing their efforts to support people with disability.

One of the key components of the Scheme’s ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports is that the support is more appropriately funded by the Scheme rather than another system.

If another system is responsible for a support, the Scheme cannot fund that support, even if the system responsible does not provide it.

Not stepping in to replace other systems is a critical principle of the Scheme to ensure people with disability continue to have access to mainstream systems and the Scheme is financially sustainable. Reference link will take you away from the ADCET website

The below information is taken from the slides that were presented at the conference

Context for ‘reasonable and necessary’

  1. assists the participant to pursue goals, objectives aspirations;
  2. support social and economic participation;
  3. value for money;
  4. is (or likely to be) effective and beneficial;
  5. beyond what is reasonable to expect families, carers, informal networks and the community to provide;
  6. most appropriately funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), not through other system

Policy approach

Boundary between the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other systems:

  • There will not be ‘top-ups’ for other systems which aren’t preforming (including where there is unmet demand/waiting lists)

Higher Education and VET

National Disability Insurance Scheme (Supports for Participants) Rules 2013

Higher education and vocational education and training

7.15 The NDIS will be responsible for supports that a student requires which are associated with the functional impact of the student's disability on their activities of daily living (that is, those not primarily relating to education or training attainment), such as personal care and support, transport to and from the education or training facility and specialist supports for transition from education or training to employment that are required because of the person's disability.

7.16 The NDIS will not be responsible for the learning and support needs of students that primarily relate to their education and training attainment (including teaching, learning assistance and aids, building modifications, transport between education or training activities and general education to employment transition supports). Source:



  • Personal supports at the education or training facility that are required by an individual regardless of the activity they are undertaking (e.g. feeding. managing airways/ventilation).
  • Aids and equipment that are required by an individual regardless of the activity they are undertaking (e.g. hearing aids, wheelchairs, personal communications devices).
  • Transport to and from an education or training facility for those unable to use public transport, as part of broader transport assistance a person would receive to address their mobility needs.
  • Specialised support and training for education or training staff related to the specific personal support needs of a student with disability, including development of specific behaviour management plans.
  • Specialist transition supports which are required due to the impact of the student’s impairment/s on their functional capacity and are additional to the needs of all Australians and reasonable adjustment.
  • The coordination of NDIS supports with the supports offered by the higher education and VET system and other relevant service systems.
  • Learning assistance (this may include teachers’ assistants), and inclusion support (for example Auslan interpreters) to enable the participation of students with disability in Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training programs and services, in line with reasonable adjustment and any other relevant legislation.
  • Reasonable adjustment to education and training facilities, including capital works (e.g. ramps, lifts, hearing loops).
    Aids and equipment which are fixed or non-transportable which enable a student access to education or training (e.g. hoists).
  • Aids and equipment for education or training purposes (e.g. modified computer hardware, education software, braille textbooks).
  • Reasonable adjustments to transport for education or training activities (e.g. excursions, site visits) where this transport is being arranged for other students.
  • General support, resources, training and awareness building for education/training staff and other staff to support and engage students with disability.
  • Skills, capability and other forms of training and transition support, including reasonable adjustments for students with disability, delivered in higher education and VET institutions through their education curriculum (e.g. programs assisting transition between education or training and employment).
  • Intensive case coordination operated by the higher education and VET system where a significant component of case coordination is related to education and training supports.

[Note: There are different funding arrangements for universities and vocational education and training institutions. The Commonwealth currently provides funding to eligible higher education providers to assist them to meet the costs of providing support to students with a disability with high cost needs. Vocational education and training organisations may not have access to similar funding sources to assist the organisation meet the needs of students with disability] 


This fact sheet provides information on what supports the NDIS will fund in relation to higher education and vocational education and training (VET) and how to determine whether a support is funded by the NDIS or the higher education and VET system.