Pursuing further education comes at a cost, and it is important to figure out how you’re going to handle it. Different providers have different fees and methods of paying them, so it’s important to know what your options are
When studying at university, you will either have a Commonwealth supported place or a full-fee paying place. As a Commonwealth supported student, you will have access to the HECS-HELP scheme, allowing you to defer your fees by taking out a loan with the government. If you are a full-fee paying student (which is usually more expensive) you may also be eligible for the government’s FEE-HELP loan scheme, which can help to offset some of the costs.
Paying off your loan
Once you begin earning over a certain amount, you will have to start repaying your study loan. The compulsory repayment threshold for the 2015‑16 financial year is $54,126, so if you earn above that, your employer will need to start taking out repayments with your tax. If you are able to, you can also make voluntary contributions at any time. Any voluntary repayment of $500 or more will receive a bonus credit of 5 per cent of the payment amount, helping you to pay off your loan sooner.
Other payment schemes
Other further education providers, such as TAFE and private providers, have their own schemes in place to assist students with fees. VET FEE-HELP is a loan scheme that assists eligible students who are studying an approved vocational education and training (VET) qualification from an approved provider.
TAFE students also have access to government-subsidised places if they meet the eligibility criteria. Some providers also have payment plans available for students who would like to spread their fee costs out over the course of their studies.
There are many ways to pay for your course. Depending on your resources, you can make payments upfront, take out a loan or maybe even receive a scholarship to put towards your tuition. Whatever your strategy, find out all the options from your course provider before you start.