Studying is expensive, but with a clear idea of how you wish to realise your dreams in terms of establishing a successful career, it’s imperative that you study.

It’s a lot easier said than done, and in a large number of families, it has been found that individuals who are fresh out of school, don’t have access to the required funds to get the education they strongly desire.

When it comes to studying in Australia, you’ll require sufficient funds to cover living expenses, car loan and fuel, car and health insurance, as well as your university tuition. It sounds like a lot of money and how would one determine if they can afford the loan amount that they need? It’s always advisable to do thorough research into the student loan offerings to get an idea of what to expect financially.

Another thing to consider is that the cost of living varies in different parts of Australia. Urban areas are more expensive than in rural areas. Therefore, the rental you could be in for in the big city could end up being almost double that of a smaller town, and for obvious reasons.

Budgeting is key. Strategising to form a holistic budget will assist in ensuring the cover of tuition, board, transport and living expenses.

Where do I get a Student loan in Australia?

You’ll gain access to the loans through the Higher Education Loan Program, commonly referred to as HELP. HELP includes 5 different schemes that each support students depending on their financial situation and circumstance.

Student loans: Understanding HELP

HELP is offered through the financial assistance of the Australian Government. What this indirectly does is remove any upfront costs that universities tend to charge students who enrol for tertiary education. It furnishes students with a loan that affords them the opportunity to study now and pay for it later.

What is HECS-HELP?

Right now, all Australian citizens, permanent humanitarians with visa and New Zealand Special Category Visa holders who meet the criteria as well as long-term residency requirements and are enrolled in a Commonwealth part of Australia, can benefit from a HECS-HELP loan to repay the student potion through funding provided.

How is WFEE-HELP different?

The same applies as with HECS in who would be eligible, however, the difference is that the student would need to be enrolled in a full fee-paying place at approved higher education institutions instead. This loan would benefit the repayment of tuition fees upon meeting the stipulated criteria.

OS-HELP explained

Again, as with the others, the same parties are the recipients of this form of help. However, they would need to be enrolled in an undergraduate Commonwealth supported place. The assistance of this loan can then be used to pay off any abroad study expenses if fully eligible.

What is SA-HELP?

All parties including Australian citizens, permanent humanitarian visa holders as well as New Zealand Special Category Visa holders who meet the requirements set out by the fund can access an SA-HELP loan to pay their fees for tuition. 

How do the Student loans work?

It’s quite simple really. There are a number of factors that contribute to the success of these loans where students are considered.

A primary factor is the eligibility of the student. You need to be an Aussie citizen in order to qualify for an FEE-HELP loan who is either part time or full time enrolled with an eligible course at an educational institution participating in the program. It’s important to remember that your family’s financial status doesn’t in any way impact the outcome of your loan approval.

The loan amount is important to consider since you will be using the loan to pay the total tuition fee. Whether just a portion or the entire amount, there are caps in place that you should be aware of.

Costs are probably the biggest consideration when it comes to the loan. How much interest will you pay? What are the fees? The good news is that no interest is incurred on the FEE-HELP loans as one would incur on personal loans and other credit advances. There is, however, a 25% fee for undergrads applying for extensions on the loan.

Repaying the loan is a vital part of the process and understanding this process will only help you in the long run. As soon as you graduate and start earning an honest living, you will be obliged to start the repayment of your loan. That honest living should be a minimum of AU$51,309, anything less and you won’t be required to pay back at this stage. The repayment is calculated on your employment income. You pay a higher percentage the more you earn. These payments are made through the national taxation system of Australia and additional voluntary payments are welcome. 

How to apply for a Student loan?

For starters, you will need to get your hands on a Request for FEE-HELP assistance form. Simply fill out the online loan application and submit it to the university or college where you have enrolled. The next step is to ensure the validity of a tax file number, also known as an RFN. As soon as you have ticked those boxes, you are ready to join thousands of students in your educational venture by applying for a student loan.