Find uni expensive? Loans and scholarships can help

by Ramya Manoharan | Jan 05, 2018

Australia and New Zealand are in the grips of the tertiary admissions fever. And, when you’re thinking about university admissions you cannot but wonder about how much an undergraduate degree is going to cost you. Let’s face it: tertiary education is expensive.

Commonwealth loans

The Commonwealth government provides loans and subsidies to ensure that students will continue to be motivated to pursue higher education regardless of the cost.   

If you are planning on going to university and need help paying for your course, you should be aware of the Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)—a type of enrolment that is partly paid for by the Australian government. CSPs are offered at all public universities in Australia and some private higher education providers too.

CSP alone will not cover your full tuition fees. You may be able to make up this shortfall, referred to as the student contribution amount, through various Higher Education Loan Programs (HELP) such as:

  • a HECS-HELP loan for paying the student contribution (check eligibility for HECS-HELP)
  • FEE-HELP for eligible fee-paying students to pay their tuition fees (check eligibility for FEE-HELP)
  • SA-HELP for paying the student services and amenities fees, including for non-academic activities like sporting events, career advice and the like (check eligibility for SA-HELP)
  • VET student loans for students studying higher level (diploma and above) vocational education and training (VET) qualifications to pay their tuition fees (check eligibility for a VET student loan).

    You may also be able to receive other assistance from the government, like a Youth Allowance or Austudy or ABSTUDY. Check your eligibility for these payments here.

    Do remember that, as with any other loan, you have to pay back these amounts. So, even though you may not pay for anything upfront, the cost of an undergraduate degree appears to be met by a complicated combination of loans and scholarships.

    Institutional scholarships

    Then there are the scholarships:

  • Equity Scholarships that help financially disadvantaged students with the general costs associated with tertiary study. There are two types of equity scholarships: the Institution Equity Scholarships (IES) funded by individual institutions and the Indigenous Student Success Program (ISSP) Scholarships funded by the Australian Government for Indigenous students.
  • Merit (academic achievement), music and sport scholarships offered by various universities
  • Commonwealth Scholarships

    Please refer to each university and tertiary admissions centre websites for details on the various scholarships.

    Tertiary admission centres

    The following tertiary admissions centres provide useful information on funding options for tertiary education in the respective states and territories:

  • Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) in ACT and NSW
  • South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) in South Australia and the Northern Territory
  • Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) in Western Australia
  • Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) in Queensland
  • Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) in Victoria and the
  • University of Tasmania in Tasmania.

    You can also search for scholarships in institutions across Australia through a handy widget on My ASG, our member portal.

    Help in New Zealand

    If you are seeking tertiary admission in New Zealand and looking for a way to ease the financial burden your point of contact should be the University Scholarships Office. Universities New Zealand guide Thinking about Education? suggests that there are scholarships to support:

  • academic achievement
  • Maori student, Pacifika students, students with disabilities, financial hardship
  • sport and cultural achievement
  • excellence in particular subjects, and
  • those that support school leavers

You can get further details by visiting Universities NZ undergraduate scholarships at, Generosity at and the Maori Education Trust at

Enough reasons to save for education

ASG’s White Paper Repositioning Education as a Major Life Event shows that while education is considered to be very important by families only 28 per cent of parents surveyed regularly save for their child’s university education. It is in your best interest to consider education a financial priority.

Be wise and start saving for education now.



The information contained in this post is generic in nature and made available on the understanding that ASG does not provide professional advice. We request readers to evaluate the accuracy, completeness and relevance of the information for their purposes, and seek professional advice relevant to their circumstances if necessary. Every effort has been to make sure that the information in this article is accurate. ASG or its employees cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage arising to any person as a result of using the information in this post.

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