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Investing in education is one of the best things you can do for your long-term financial wellbeing. But with education costs rising every year, it pays to be prepared before you study. Australian students enjoy one of the best education systems in the world. Yet that quality comes at a price.

An undergraduate degree can cost up to $10,000 for a Commonwealth Government supported place and $33,000 for full-fee paying students.

Add books, a computer and software, transport, living expenses, and all the little extras of student life, and the costs of studying can quickly add up.

The good news is that if you're an eligible, full-time student you may be able to get a helping hand from the government. Check to see whether you qualify for:

  • Austudy: a fortnightly payment for students over 25. Note that Austudy has restrictions on how much you can work and earn, so it's a good idea to calculate whether it will put you ahead financially before you apply. Find out more at the Department of Human Services website.
  • HECS-HELP: a loan that covers your tuition fees while you study. Best of all, you don't have to pay your loan back until you start earning. Visit Study Assist to find out more.

Saving today for bigger savings tomorrow

Did you know that students can save thousands by paying tuition fees upfront?

If you qualify for the HECS-HELP scheme, you can get a 10% discount when you pay your annual course fee in advance. If you can only afford to pay part of it, you'll still get a discount on contributions of $500 or more, with a HECS-HELP loan to cover the rest.

So if you're planning to study soon, it could be worth putting money aside now to save on tuition fees later.

Even if you're not planning to pay your tuition fees upfront, you still need to think about how you’ll cover day-to-day living expenses while you study. Especially if you're moving out for the first time, with all the extra costs that involves.

Creating a budget

The first step is to work out where your money is going and how much you can afford to save by creating a budget. Budgeting now will also help you understand exactly how much you’ll need to live on each week while you’re studying.

Here’s how to get started:

  • First, add up your income - from work, family and any government support, remembering to factor in how many hours you can or are permitted to work while you study.
  • Next, work out what you'll need to spend. Remember all those added extras, like student union fees, textbooks and other materials.
  • Subtract your costs from your expenses to discover how much you can save — or how much more you need to earn before you can start saving.
  • The more you save now, the more freedom you’ll have to concentrate on your studies down the track. Read more about creating a budget.
Saving for your education

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Things to know before you Can: This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.

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