With Orientation upon us and the start of a brand new academic year, the time is ripe to lock down your budget. This will help you go forward confident you’ve made every effort to take the financial stress out of studying. Here are our six top tips to prepare for the cost of uni:
1. Research the cost of study and create a realistic budget. As well as regular living expenses, plan for one-off costs such as textbooks, equipment and uniforms. Register for the Create a spending plan workshop on Monday 26 February at 12.30pm for a step-by-step guide to create a no-fail budget.
2. Check your eligibility for Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy. Complete the Human Services Rate Estimator to find out how much income you might receive each fortnight. Eligible? Apply! Even if you haven’t accepted a university place yet, you can still apply now.
3. Consider your fee payment options. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to choose between paying your fees upfront or deferring payment via a HELP loan. Again, take the time to do the research to decide which option is best for you. You may be wary of accumulating debt but, on the other hand, if you have savings available to draw on during the year you won’t find yourself running short in an emergency. As some experts advise, a HELP debt can be considered a “cheap” debt.
4. Apply for a scholarship. There are hundreds available and many of them are specific to certain courses or circumstances, not just academic performance.
5. Pick the brains of those who have gone before you. Your friends and family are often the best first point of call for financial advice, and now is the perfect time to task them how they covered costs at uni. Ask them what they know now that they wish they knew when they started their studies. If you’re looking for other students in similar circumstances, try asking the crew on CSUSocial or the Facebook Mentoring group for your course.
6. Contact the Student Liaison Officer (Finance) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for individual tailored advice about making the most of your financial circumstances.