Wondering if you can afford to study and maintain your lifestyle? Worried additional study costs will become unaffordable? That’s understandable.
85% of future students are concerned about the costs of study.* Balancing study and money is challenging – but the challenge is worth it. Study can open up new career paths, boost your current career, increase your job satisfaction and salary. Ready to begin? Set yourself up for success by following these four steps to cut the cost of a degree and offset your study expenses.
1. Cut the total cost of study
There are a surprising number of ways to cut the cost of a degree:
Credit for past experience
Do you have experience studying or working in a related field? Have your experience recognised with course credit points, reducing the number of units you need to study, and therefore you tuition costs overall.
Apply for scholarships
Get rewarded for your achievements and strengths with a scholarship to help fund your course. There are a range of Deakin scholarships to offset the cost of your degree, so it pays to research your options.
Postgraduate bursary discount
If you or a family member studied an undergraduate degree at Deakin, you may qualify for 10% off tuition fees.
Cost-share with an employer
If you work in the field, approach your employer with a proposal for study as professional development. It’s not uncommon for students to cost-share with their employer.
Claim it on tax
If your intended course is upskilling and directly relates to your work, you might qualify for a range of tax benefits. The ATO can advise on claiming study expenses case by case.
2. Understand your fee options
University fees are complicated. We can help you understand fees, figure out if you're eligible for assistance and plan your budget while you're studying at Deakin.
Postgraduate payment options
While most postgraduate coursework degrees are full-fee paying, that doesn’t mean you have to pay it all upfront.
If you studied your undergraduate degree as a domestic student, you probably already know about HECS. Did you know there’s a HECs equivalent for postgraduate study? FEE-HELP works on the same premise as HECS – the Federal Government covers your tuition fees as a loan and you pay it back through tax once you reach a taxable income threshold.
Deakin also has a very handy FEE-HELP repayment calculator to help you work out how much of your salary will be deducted before tax from each pay cycle, and how long it will take to repay your FEE-HELP loan.
If you aren’t able to defer tuition fees using FEE-HELP, you can opt to pay your fees in instalments.
Undergraduate payment options
Most domestic undergraduate students have their course fees subsidised by the Australian government – this is referred to as a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP). If you are enrolled in a CSP, you will only be invoiced for the fees you need to pay. These are called 'student contributions'.
If you’re in a CSP, the government offers a HECS-HELP loan to cover the ‘student contribution’ part of your student fees. This means your tuition fees are covered as a loan and you pay it back through tax once you reach a taxable income threshold.
3. Access the support you need
You may be eligible for a regular support payment from the Australian government, such as Austudy or Youth Allowance. And if you find the juggle between work and study is too much and have had to give up paid work, you may be able to get ongoing support from Centrelink.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the cost of study, Deakin offers help with budgets and can point you in the right direction for support. The Deakin Financial Assistance office provides interest-free loans for study expenses to help you stay on track. If it’s a short-term situation, emergency help is available in the way of practical support such as a Myki to keep you coming to campus. If you’re experiencing hardship, you can also apply for a grant, which doesn’t need to be paid back.
4. Plan your costs and budget
There are heaps of resources out there to help with budgeting, financial planning and money-saving ideas.
What to plan for
Create a budget that plans for any additional costs of study. This may include your Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF), text books or other study resources, additional travel costs or parking, a laptop and other equipment. Again, you may be able to claim these costs on tax, so check with the ATO.
Make a budget
We recommend mapping out your expenses for the year to give you a clear budget. The MoneySmart online budget planner gives you an overall picture of your money, where it is coming from, and how you are spending it.
Spend wisely and cut costs
For most, studying means some financial sacrifices in the short term. Take advantage of student discounts, buy study materials second-hand, borrow books from the library, and use internet at uni to reduce your expenses now – it will pay dividends in the long term.
* Deakin University Barriers, Drivers & University Performance Research (Global Engagement) 2017