Australian tertiary students are feeling the pinch of increased costs, according to new research from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).
Analysis by the NTEU suggests the federal government is shifting costs and debts from itself onto students. If you're a tertiary student, the findings may act as a catalyst to reconsider your financial habits and start a savings account.
Outstanding student debt is expected to rise, with the main factor being the higher cost of a university degree, thanks to uncapped fees. Furthermore, real interest rates will be tacked onto outstanding Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debts from 2016 onwards. This may force individuals to reach into their savings account in order to meet their new obligations.
According to NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea, the cost shifting is massive.
"Students will be lumped with exorbitant debts that will take decades to repay. This is on top of the additional $300,000-$400,000 in income tax university graduates will pay over their lifetime. As anyone with a mortgage will understand, the higher your initial loan and the higher the interest payments, the longer it takes to pay off."
Ways to save more while you're studying
With costs increasing for those attaining higher qualifications, putting a solid savings plan in place is essential.
Many students work part-time while studying. If you're embarking on tertiary study or you're part-way through, picking up a part-time job has three distinct benefits.
Firstly, it provides a stream of income to help with living costs. If possible, divert some of your earnings into a high interest savings account, too — even if it's just $20 per week. A smart approach to saving these funds is to set up an automatic payment that removes a specified amount from your everyday account as soon as you receive your pay cheque.
Secondly, listing a part-time job on your CV proves incredibly valuable. Whether you take on a retail gig or work in hospitality, you'll pick up a slew of transferrable skills that you can highlight to potential employers when you enter full-time work after completing your studies.
Finally, juggling study and work requires you to carefully resource your time, which is a useful skill in itself. However, it also teaches you the value of money, because you're the one to put in eight, ten or twenty hours per week on top of your studies. Understanding the effort that goes into earning money is a great motivator to save more and ditch spending your hard-earned dollars on things you don't need, like a takeaway coffee every morning or a new outfit every fortnight!
On top of your savings plan, cut down your everyday spending by packing your own lunches instead of buying out each day. When a new term rolls around, shop for second-hand textbooks, too!