The lowdown on paying for uni
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There are countless things to think about when you start contemplating uni: what to study and where? Online or campus based? And of course, how am I going to pay for it all? As a university student you'll need to consider a range of expenses, such as books, fees and study supplies. But you'll find plenty of support, and you won’t necessarily have to pay everything upfront.
Here is some helpful information about how to pay for your studies.
Pick your place
Uni students are offered either a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) or a fee-paying place.
At ACU if your undergraduate application is successful, we’ll offer you a CSP. In a CSP, the Australian Government subsidises the cost of your course. You’ll pay the remainder, known as the student contribution amount. However, if you prefer, you can of course elect to pay your fees upfront.
If your postgraduate coursework application is successful, you’ll likely be offered a domestic fee-paying place (DFP). Most postgraduate coursework degrees only have DFP places available as we don’t receive any government funding for these placements.
A small number of postgraduate coursework degrees have CSPs available, that information will be listed on the course webpage.
Ask for HELP
If you’re not able to pay right away, you can defer your tuition costs.
HECS-HELP is a loan program to help eligible CSP students pay the student contribution portion of their fees. This means the balance of your student contribution amount is recorded as a debt against your tax file number. You won’t need to start making repayments until you are earning the minimum repayment threshold ($45,881 for the 2019-20 income year). You will then start paying it back as a percentage of your wage.
FEE-HELP is like HECS-HELP and assists eligible fee-paying students to pay all or part of their tuition fees.
Find out more.
Get the government on your side
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, income support is available. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for any of the following financial support options.
Youth Allowance: an income support payment for full-time students aged 16 – 24. It’s calculated according to a daily rate and is paid in arrears, typically in fortnightly instalments. If you qualify for Youth Allowance, the amount of financial support you receive will depend on your income and assets.
Austudy: designed to provide financial support to Australian students aged over 25. Unlike Youth Allowance, students who receive the Austudy payment are considered independent from their parents and are not subject to the Parental Income Test, Family Assets Test and the Family Actual Means Test.
ABSTUDY: provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to improve access to and participation in secondary and tertiary education and training. It can assist with study costs, housing expenses and living costs.
Rent assistance: this is a government payment to eligible people to help with rental costs. The scheme provides extra assistance if you have a low income and rent your accommodation, generally in the private rental market.
Get the benefit
In addition to income support payments, students also qualify for concession and health cards. These cards allow students to access essential services at a reduced cost. Each state and territory in Australia issue its own version of a student concession card, but they all essentially offer the same benefits, including cheaper fares on public transport, reduced health care costs and cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Apply for a scholarship
ACU offer a huge range of scholarships to help provide financial support to students, both new and continuing, for a range of reasons. We want you to succeed, and with so many opportunities available you just need to take some time to research and apply. Scholarships aren’t just for academically gifted students or those struggling financially – passion and dedication can also help you meet criteria.
We offer nearly 400 scholarships, and they are available for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Visit our scholarships hub to see what’s on offer.
ACU student loans
If you experience financial hardship that might prevent you from completing your course, you may be eligible to apply for temporary financial support through our Student Loans Scheme. In cases of financial distress, students may apply for a student loan. Loans must be repaid in full according to a pre-determined repayment schedule, but they do not attract interest charges.
Get your employer working for you
If your study is to meet employer requirements, or will make you more effective in the workplace, they may help cover a percentage of your course fees. Employer contributions are very common, and it is worth talking to your HR department to see what support they can provide.
Ask the question
If you’ve got questions, our AskACU team can help. You can check FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you. We also run a range of events designed for anyone considering uni. Find an event that suits you.
Think you’re ready for uni? Explore our courses.