Fund your studies

Fund your studies

Study and training costs vary depending on the level of study, as well as the particular industry or organisation you have chosen. It’s important to check tuition fees and training costs with education providers and employers (if applicable).

Apprenticeships and traineeships

The cost of off-the-job training may be covered by the apprentice or trainee, or the employer, with government subsidies typically available. See or contact your local Australian Apprenticeships Centre for more information.

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

At TAFE institutes, places for eligible students are subsidised by the federal, state and territory governments. There is a maximum amount you pay each year, which is determined by the government.

A small number of TAFE courses are not subsidised. These are known as full-fee programs, with fees decided by the individual provider. Concessions may be available. As private companies, Registered Training Organisations set their own fees. There is no limit imposed by the government. This means that costs differ from those at TAFE institutions.

Higher education

At public universities (most Australian universities are publicly funded), undergraduate courses are allocated into one of three ‘student contribution’ bands. This means that the federal government pays a share of your fees, while you cover the remainder as a contribution depending on your field of study. This is called a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP). The table above shows the annual contribution per category. If you study at a private institution (including a private university), you will typically receive a full-fee place. CSPs may be available in certain areas at private institutions.

Student Contribution Band 2018

Band 3: Law, dentistry, medicine, veterinary science, accounting, administration, economics and commerce.

Cost: $0 to $10,754

Band 2: Computing, built environment, health and allied health, engineering, surveying, agriculture, mathematics, statistics and science

Cost: $0 to $9,185

Band 1: Humanities, behavioural science, social studies, education, foreign languages, visual and performing arts, and nursing

Cost: $0 to $6,444

Source: Study Assist (


HELP loans

The federal government’s Higher Education LoanProgramme (HELP) provides assistance to help higher education students to pay tuition fees. These loans allow you to defer paying your fees until you are earning at or above the minimum repayment threshold ($55,874 in 2018). Payments are made through the taxation system, with employers deducting the required amount from your pay.

To be eligible for a HELP loan, you must be:

• an Australian citizen, New Zealand Special Category Visa Holder or Permanent Humanitarian Visa Holder

• studying an approved course at a government-approved education provider. If you take out one of these loans, you can choose how you pay for your studies. You can make partial payments during your course and pay the remainder when you are earning a higher income, or defer all fees until you are earning above the minimum repayment threshold.


Scholarships are offered by education providers, government and private organisations. They are available in a wide range of fields, across all qualification levels, and may be offered for merit or equity. Merit scholarships recognise academic achievement, while equity scholarships support students who would otherwise have trouble accessing further education.

This includes students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, students with disability, students from non-English-speaking backgrounds, students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, students from rural and remote areas, and those entering non-traditional fields of study (where women make up less than 40 per cent of the course enrolment). Some scholarships cover tuition fees (in part or in full), while others help you pay for living and accommodation expenses or offer a stipend (a book bursary, for example). A small number cover the whole lot and may include extra perks, such as relocation assistance if you have moved away from home to study.

Durations vary from one-off payments to annual assistance. You may be considered for some scholarships automatically, while others require an application. Applications are generally accepted on the provider’s website or through your local Tertiary Admissions Centre (TAC).

Government allowances

Government allowances can help you cover the costs of study and training.

Allowances include:

Youth Allowance

This allowance provides financial help to young people, allowing them to study or train in an occupation. You may be eligible for Youth Allowance if you meet one of the following categories:

• 16 to 21 years old and looking for full-time work or undertaking approved activities

• 18 to 24 years old and studying full-time

• 16 or 17 years old and have completed Year 12 or equivalent, need to live away from home to study, or are considered independent

• 16 to 24 years old and undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship.


This allowance is available to full-time students and Australian apprentices who are aged 25 years or older. Payment rates depend on individual circumstances, such as whether you are single or partnered with children, and a personal income test applies.


This allowance helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with the costs of study and training. It covers costs such as tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses and transport.

Student Start-up Loan

The Student Start-up Loan is a voluntary loan for eligible higher education students receiving Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. There are two loan periods each calendar year, commencing in January and June, with payments made in February and July. The loan amount is $1,035 per loan period. Unlike government allowances, the Student Start-up Loan is repaid through the taxation system when the minimum repayment threshold is reached.

Relocation Scholarship

The Relocation Scholarship provides assistance to students who need to live away from home to study. The scholarship is available to students receiving Youth Allowance or ABSTUDY Living Allowance payments who are undertaking an approved scholarship course.

In 2018, students from regional and remote areas are entitled to an annual payment of $4,459 in their first year of study, $2,231 in the second and third years, and $1,115 in the fourth or subsequent years. Students not from regional or remote areas receive $4,459 in the first year and $1,115 in subsequent years.

Trade Support Loan

The Trade Support Loan is available to apprentices and trainees in certain skills areas. It provides a loan of up to $20,420 over four years, to cover the costs of living and learning. Loans are repaid through the taxation system.

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