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Funding Your Australian Education – Scholarships Down Under

Embarking on the journey of higher education in Australia is, indeed, the dream of many students. After all, Australia has some of the best universities in the world. However, the financial aspect of education in Australia can be a huge concern for many students. Though the budget of studying in Australia varies from course to course and university to university, it can be pretty expensive. Hence, it is safe to consider possible ways of funding your Australian education before you apply as an international student. However, you should consider some of the best sources of financing your education even if you are a local student. With that being said, this article provides a thorough roadmap to make your educational journey easier with some of the best sources of financing your higher education in Australia.

Funding Your Australian Education – Scholarships Down Under

Australia is one of the most popular destinations for students. From January to September 2023, the number of international students in the country totaled 746,080. However, it is also one of the most expensive destinations for students. Therefore, if you are planning to move to Australia for higher education, you should consider the different sources of funding for your Australian education. Besides, the cost of living and tuition depend on the following factors:

  • Your education provider (the university or college)
  • The level of your education (undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree, for instance)
  • Your location

Nevertheless, the official government website of Australia – Study Australia provides an approximate tuition cost for international students as follows:

  • Undergraduate Degree: AU$20,000 to $45,000
  • Graduate Degree: AU$22,000 to $50,000
  • Doctoral Degree: AU$20,000 to $42,000

The above range is an approximate value. But you can also calculate using the following link: Estimate Your Living Costs.

1. Save Before You Move to Australia

As an international student, considering your budget before you move to another country such as Australia is essential. Because not only the cost of education but also living in Australia is comparatively high. This is also because the country has some of the top universities in the world. And these universities offer almost any program or course that you wish to study.

Therefore, we recommend that you should consider the cost of living in Australia first. It includes your accommodation, transport, health expenses, food, and activities. Besides that, you must also consider the expenses of your application process. Hence, you must have enough funds ready at hand before you start the process. You can also choose to start saving a few months or even a year before your application process.

2. Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants are one of the best ways to fund your Australian education. After all, they can significantly remove the educational financial burden from your head. Australia has a plethora of scholarships not only for domestic but also for international students. Some of these scholarships do not only cover your tuition fee but also the cost of your living, medical expenses, and much more. Hence, we will dive deeper into different types of scholarships that you can apply for.

  • Government scholarships: The government of Australia provides a number of scholarship programs to help international students fund their Australian education. For instance, the Australian Awards Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships out there. The scholarship is designed to help undergraduate and graduate students. Other than that, the Australian Government Research Training Program and Global Citizen Scholarship are also government-funded scholarships.
  • University-specific scholarship: Other than government-funded scholarships, each Australian University offers various scholarships not only for domestic but also for international students. Monash University Scholarship, Macquarie University Scholarship, Deakin University Scholarship, and Griffith Remarkable Scholarship are a few well-known university-specific scholarships.
  • Research scholarship: For those students who are applying for postgraduation, research scholarships can be one of the best ways of finding their Australian education. However, these scholarships are more often for students who perform well in their academics. For instance, the Research Training Program is also an excellent opportunity for anyone with good academics pursuing their postgraduate studies in Australia.
  • Industry and professional association: Australia has a number of industries and professional association that provides funds to individuals to finance their education. For instance, the Engineers Australia Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to supporting the education of future engineers in Australia. The organization provides scholarships to passionate engineers who are excellent in their academics.

2. Part Time Work Opportunities

Apart from scholarships, part-time work opportunities are one of the best methods of funding your Australian education. Besides, it is a common strategy for international students to not only gain valuable work experience but also fund their living and education expenses. An international student, living in Australia, can work up to 24 hours per week as of July 2024.

However, one of the main concerns of an international student working part-time is balancing their work and studies. This requires them to efficiently manage their time. They have to have to communicate their work availability to their employees and establish a realistic schedule to prioritize their academic hours. Nonetheless, here are a few common ways they can use their free time to earn some extra money.

On-Campus Employment

Australian universities offer various opportunities on campus for domestic and international students to help them fund their Australian education. The on-campus employment opportunities aim to help students manage their schedules and provide a convenient work environment. Some common roles are administrative positions, roles within student service, teaching assistance, and library assistance.

These roles do not only provide work opportunities to students but they also help them engage within the university community. So that they can develop relevant skills and make invaluable connections with faculty members and staff members.

Off-Campus Employment

International students can also look for off-campus employment opportunities. But they have to adhere to visa regulations. They can find roles in retail, hospitality, IT, and more. The off-campus employment opportunities usually pay better than the ones that are on campus. Besides that, students can gain work experience in their chosen field and explore industries and market place even before they graduate. Hence, the off-campus work opportunities provide students a chance to experience the work environment in Australia even better.

Networking and Career Development Opportunities

Besides work opportunities on and off campus, there are a number of other opportunities that students can get through networking with industry professionals and colleagues. For instance, they can apply for paid internships. However, you, as an international student, have to attend industry events and explore avenues for such opportunities. After all, building a strong network can really be beneficial in securing work and internship opportunities while you are still in university.

3. Apply for Student Loans

Once you decide to study at any reputable university in Australia, you have to consider the different ways of funding your Australian education. However, if there is no way to fully finance your education in Australia, you can also choose to apply for student loans. The government of Australia offers a variety of student loans through their Higher Education Loan Program or HELP. Unfortunately, the loans are only available to domestic students or students who own a humanitarian visa.

Therefore, you, as an international student, have to apply for loans from your home country if you need any. After all, to get a student visa in Australia, the student has to prove that they have 12 months of tuition fees, A$21,041 for living costs, and approximately A$2,000 for travel expenses in their bank account. Alternatively, you can also choose to show that your education will be funded by your parents or partner and they have a sufficient amount of money to at least finance your education and accommodation for 12 months in Australia.

How to File Taxes as a College Student

University Loans

However, there are alternative options too. For instance, you can apply for a university loan from your institute. The university loans are available for both local and international students studying in Australia. Besides, some of the universities offer both short and long-term loans to students to not only cover their emergencies but also pay for their living expenses. Here are a few eligibility criteria that you need to consider when applying for a university student loan. You must:

  • Have an Australian visa
  • Not be in the first or final semester of your studies.
  • Be a full-time student. You will be ineligible for a university loan if you are taking a distance education course.
  • Have a strong academic record and be able to complete your course on time. For instance, you must get at least 18 credit points in a semester or 36 credit points in a year.
  • Prove your financial background and clear all the previous dues if there are any.
  • have a part-time job.

If you fulfill all of the above eligibility criteria, you can choose to apply for a university student loan. The University of Melbourne, for instance, offers up to $5,000 AUD or $3,883 USD if you have any Australian co-signer. Besides that, if you do not have any Australian co-signer but someone who lives overseas, you can still be eligible for a university loan of $3,000 AUD or $2,330 USD.

However, the University of Sydney also offers loans up to $2,000 or $1,550 USD that you can pay back within two years after graduation. Similarly, the University of Monash offers student loans up to $750-$3,000 AUD or $544 – $2,330 USD that you need to pay back within 6 to 12 months. You can check further for your university student loans for international students on your university’s respective website.

Private Loans

Apart from a university loan, an international student can apply for private loans for the purpose of funding their Australian education. This is one of the easiest loans to fund your Australian education. So, you borrow money from a private bank or a lender, then pay them back within an agreed duration of time. In such a case, the bank or the lender can also charge you interest. Be sure to talk it out with them. Moreover, the loan can either be:

  • Secured: The loan is tied to collateral and has a low-interest rate. Besides, the interest rates can either be fixed or variable. If you fail to pay the loan on time, the collateral attached to the loan will then belong to the bank.
  • Unsecured: The loan is not tied to any collateral but you have to pay higher interest rates. This type of loan is flexible and can be used for various purposes.

Nonetheless, here are some eligibility criteria that you should consider when applying for a private loan. You must:

  • Have an Australian visa.
  • Be residing in Australia when you are taking the loan.
  • Have an account in a private in Australia.
  • Be admitted or have secured admission to one of the universities that your private bank approves.
  • Have a source of monthly income. This excludes any allowance that you get from your parents.
  • Provide security to the bank in the form of government or public sector bonds, bank deposits either in your name or your parent’s name, or land or building.

Moreover, here are some common loan types that you can get for funding your Australian education as an international student.

  • Short-Term or Emergency Loans: Those students who face a shortage of money or an emergency can apply for this type of loan. They can get it from their respective universities. It is an interest-free loan for international students. However, if you cannot pay the loan within the due time, a 2.5% interest will be charged. You have to be a full-time student at a university in Australia to qualify for this loan. Besides, some universities may even ask you to bring your financial details for the application process.
  • Long-Term or General Purpose Loan: You can apply for a long-term or general purpose loan either in your Australian university or a private bank. This type of loan can cover everything, including your tuition fee, accommodation costs, and travel expenses. From your Australian university, you can get a long-term loan of $4000 to $8,000. But you can obtain a higher amount if you apply through a private bank. However, you should remember that your university provides an interest-free long-term loan. Meanwhile, private banks charge interest on their long-term or general-purpose loans.
  • Medical Student Loan: If you are a medical or dental student studying in Australia, you can apply for this type of loan. However, you need to fulfill certain eligibility criteria to get this type of loan. Luckily, you can also get this loan even if you are in the final of your education.
  • Car Loan: Transportation is, indeed, one of the main concerns of an international student living in Australia. Luckily, you can get a loan for a car even if you are an international student in Australia. However, the car you buy with the loan will be attached as collateral to your car loan. Besides, this type of loan has a highly competitive interest. Therefore, we recommend international students take full advantage of public transport instead of getting a car loan.
  • Payday Loan: Payday loans are one of the common types of student loans in Australia. To get this type of loan, you need to have part-time employment. With this type of loan, you can borrow a small amount of money in case of an emergency. However, you have to repay the amount once you receive your next wage. Besides the car loan, a payday loan also has high interest.

Moreover, here are a couple of the top private international student loans offered by private banks in Australia.

Westpac Unsecured Personal Loan

The Westpac Unsecured Personal loan is offered by Westpac Banking Corporation. You can get an amount starting from $4,000 up to $50,000 under this loan and get repayments too if you need to. Besides that, you can also choose the duration you will have to pay back your loan between 1 year to 7 years. However, you should remember that a shorter term means that you will pay lesser interest. Meanwhile, a longer term means that you will get lower repayment amounts.

Moreover, you can get your loan within an hour once approved if you have an existing account in Westpac. Once you get the loan, you can use it for several purposes, including tuition fees, car, and renovation.

ANZ Fixed Rate Personal Loan

The ANZ Fixed Rate Personal Loan is another loan that an international student can apply for to fund their Australian education. You can use it to either pay your debt, buy a new car, pay your tuition fee, renovate your home, or travel. Moreover, you can get an amount starting from $5,000 to $50,000 and repay them in 1 year or 7 years of time span.

You can the amount on the same day once your loan is approved in the bank’s branch. Besides, it has a fixed interest rate and your repayments will not change even if the interest rates increase over time. Thus, it can be a good option for funding your Australian education.

4. Financial Planning and Budgeting

Only getting a source of funding your Australian Education is not enough. You need to learn how to budget, use, or plan your money the right way for a successful academic experience in Australia. It can be sometimes difficult to manage your money while you are still in your university and also in an unfamiliar country. Learning and mastering this skill can be extremely beneficial even as a professional.

Therefore, this section aims to provide international students with helpful insights into creating a realistic budget, managing their experiences, and exploring different cost-saving strategies.

Create a Realistic Budget

Before embarking on your academic journey in Australia, we recommend international students research well about different factors, including accommodation, food, travel, tuition fees, and more. Once you have enough information about a student’s life in Australia, you should create a detailed and realistic budget that covers all of your expenses. It includes your tuition fees, accommodation, transportation, food, health, personal expenses, and textbooks.

To do so, you have to list down all of your income sources, including part-time jobs, scholarships, and financial support from your family. After all, understanding your sources of income lets you allocate your money appropriately.

Managing Accommodation and Transportation Costs

As far as the accommodation is concerned, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of both on-campus and off-campus accommodation. If you choose to live on-campus, you can save transportation expenses but the cost of living can be higher. On the other hand, if you opt for off-campus accommodation, it can be a little cheaper sometimes but you will spend a good amount of money on commuting.

Hence, look for both options in detail and list down all the pros and cons. Then, choose any one of them that you find cheaper and convenient. Moreover, you can use public transportation services to save on commuting. It is a cost-effective and sustainable option for students.

Textbooks and Study Materials

As an international student, textbooks and study materials can be one of your most costly expenses. Therefore, you can consider getting used textbooks, digital books and notes, and library materials. Moreover, some universities even offer programs where students can use share, or borrow textbooks, notes, and study materials.

Cost-Saving Strategies for Daily Living

As a student, eating out or shopping regularly can be pretty expensive. Therefore, you should learn to plan your meals, buy groceries in bulk, and cook at home which can not only be a cost-effective strategy but also healthier. Besides, we recommend you to only shop for your necessities.

Moreover, you must look for student discounts wherever possible.

Emergency Fund and Contingency Planning

Since you are living on your own as an international student, you must allocate an amount of your money for emergencies. This is essential for any unforeseen medical expense or in case of unexpected travel requirements.

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