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Degree costs and loans

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There are countless things to think about when you start sorting through your study options: the course you want to do and where you want to do it, just to name a couple.

But what about the cost of your course? In the same way as it is helpful to understand the structure of your program and its graduate opportunities, it also helps to know exactly where you stand on the costs front. The cost of your education and how you pay for it vary depending on a few factors, which will be explained below.

Degree fee structures

When it comes to degree costs, the first factor to consider is how much you will have to pay. This all depends on the fee structure of your course. Depending on the fee structure, domestic students entering higher education courses may be awarded one of two types of places:

The fees you will pay for your course depend on the type of course you enrol into, including the qualification level (undergraduate or postgraduate) and the type of institution you attend (university or private provider, for example). If you are considering a research degree, the good news is that research students — who are undertaking a masters degree by research or a research doctorate — are exempt from tuition fees and are instead funded by a number of government schemes. See Financial assistance for research students for more information.

Degree loans

The second consideration is how you’ll manage to pay for your studies. Unless you are lucky enough to be able to pay for your degree upfront, this usually depends on the availability of government loans. The federal government provides a couple of different loans that allow students to defer all or part of their tuition fees until they are earning a certain level of income. The type of loan you receive will depend on whether you receive a CSP or a full-fee place.

The two loan types are:

HECS-HELP

This loan type is available to students who receive a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP). These loans are available at public universities and in selected courses at private institutions. See Commonwealth Supported Places for more information.

FEE-HELP

This loan type is available to students who receive a full-fee place. These loans are available at private institutions and at public universities for postgraduate students only. See Full-fee places for more information.

If you are eligible for one of these loans, you can choose from one of the following payment types:

  • You can pay your course fees upfront and in full each semester.
  • You can make partial repayments during your course (such as a $500 contribution per semester) and pay the remainder when you are earning a set annual income that exceeds the minimum repayment threshold set by the government ($54,126 in 2015–2016).
  • You can defer all your fees until you are earning a set annual income that exceeds the minimum repayment threshold.

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