Returning to study: things to consider

Returning to study is a big decision to make, with lots of things to consider financially. Here's four things to think about to get you started.

How much will it cost?

The cost of returning to university or completing any higher education can be a big setback for many people. Make a list of all the costs associated with returning to study and see how they could fit into a budget.

Costs to consider include:

  • Study materials
  • Core and elective course fees
  • Processing and other student fees
  • Transport to and from university.

When putting together a budget consider:

  • Change in income
  • Change in living expenses.

It’s important to consider costs vary widely between courses, the time of year you take the course, and even the university you study through.

If you are considering going back to study now is the time to try and save more money, and make sure you have the best accounts set up to help you do this. Review your budget and make saving for university one of your financial goals.

How will I pay for it?

While the Government offers a number of financial assistance schemes, many people who are returning to university for postgraduate study will pay for their fees upfront via savings or a personal loan.

Some employers will pay for part or all of their employees to study, depending on whether the study is relevant to the company’s success.

Government support

You may be eligible to receive a Government loan to cover your tuition fees. The loans are a part of the HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP schemes. These loans cover tuition fees only, not extras such as accommodation and study materials.

Tax breaks

You may be able to claim a tax deduction for expenses related to self-education. Make sure you keep receipts and document everything you’ve paid for that you’d like to try and claim back. Claimable expenses could include:

  • Tuition fees
  • Study materials such as text books and stationary
  • Computer expenses

For more information about eligibility, including a full list of potential items to claim visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

If you'd like to discuss your options further make talk to one of our specialists, or book an appointment with a financial planner.

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