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Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training
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Financial Considerations

Most accredited courses in Australia are subject to fees, whether you choose to study at university or within the vocational education training sector. In addition to these course fees, there are other financial considerations you may need to take into account, such as:

  • study materials
  • text books
  • public transport
  • petrol and parking
  • relocation costs
  • accommodation fees
  • specialist equipment, such as lab coats for science subjects, or art materials for visual art

It is very important that you consider these additional costs in your budget. 

More information can be found under Choosing Where to Study, and Student Accommodation and Services.

Course Fees

The type and level of fees you pay for your course depends on a range of factors, including the type of student you are (international or domestic), the course you are undertaking (e.g. bachelor, masters, certificate) and the type of provider you have enrolled with (e.g. government-funded university, private provider, VET provider). 

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Contact your VET provider for more information about their fees.

VET FEE HELP may be available to some students studying at Diploma level (Certificate 5) Vocational Education. For a trial period VET FEE HELP will be available for students studying some Certificate IV level programs.

Not all providers are approved to offer VET FEE‑HELP loans. You can only access VET FEE‑HELP at a registered training organisation that has been approved under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to offer VET FEE‑HELP to eligible students.

If you are enrolling at the Diploma level or above you may be able to access VET FEE-HELP (see below).

University

Students planning on undertaking study at university must pay tuition fees. These fees are either subsidised by the Commonwealth Government (Commonwealth Supported Place) or are paid in full by the student.

There are three types of students at university:

  • Commonwealth supported students who pay student contributions
  • domestic students who pay full tuition fees up front
  • international students who pay full tuition fees up front

To be eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place at university you must be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or hold an Australian Permanent Resident Visa. Some Commonwealth supported students are eligible to defer payment of their tuition fees via the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS - HELP) or to receive a discount for paying their student contribution upfront.

Domestic full fee paying students are required to pay the full fee that covers the costs of their tuition upfront.

Links to HECS-HELP information

University Student Services and Amenities Fee

Universities and other higher education providers can charge their students a fee to cover costs for provision of services and amenities such as sporting and recreational activities, employment and career advice, child care, financial advice and food services. This is called the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

The government sets a maximum amount that higher education providers can charge you for SSAF. In 2014 it was $281, but this amount will vary slightly each year. Under government legislation, universities and higher education providers cannot spend the money they collect from SSAF on activities such as support for political parties.

Any enrolled student can be charged SSAF, including if you are studying externally or part time, from a low SES or Indigenous background, undergraduate or postgraduate. However, some providers may adjust the amount that they charge students in these various categories. If you study part time you can’t be charged more than 75% of the maximum SSAF amount charged by the provider.

If the higher education provider charges you SSAF, you are obliged to pay it, regardless of whether you intend to use the services and amenities that the fee covers. The provider sets a date by which SSAF needs to be paid.

If you have difficulty paying SSAF upfront, you do have an option to defer all or part of the fee through an SA-HELP loan. If you opt to use SA-HELP, you only need to apply for it once for a specific course, although if you enrol in subsequent courses with the same or other providers, you would need to reapply for SA-HELP each time.