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Financing options: make postgraduate study more affordable

Wouldn’t you love to go back to uni and not have to worry about the cost? Postgraduate study might be more affordable than you think.  

There are several financing options that can cut the cost of postgraduate study and offset your expenses.  

And if you weigh up the benefits of upskilling, the value of a postgraduate degree is clear.  

Below, we outline the different options to consider when financing your postgraduate study.  

The benefits of postgraduate study 

While educating yourself further may not seem like a tangible investment, having a postgrad degree can help you make a very tangible career leap. 

Already working in your chosen field? The benefits could start before you’ve even finished the degree. Upskilling puts you in a better position for a promotion, secondment or extra responsibility on the job. 

Whether you qualify with a masters or complete a short course, postgraduate study can also increase your chance of securing work.  

The research tells us that postgraduates stand out as candidates, but there’s another benefit – postgraduate study helps to widen your professional community and can lead to you hearing about opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise. 

Salary is the most obvious benefit of completing a postgraduate degree. 

A postgraduate degree has the potential to boost your salary, as you’re likely to be more qualified and confident to shoot for a job that you might normally dismiss as out of your league. Having a higher degree can also bolster you when negotiating a pay rise. 

How to pay for postgraduate study: financing options 

So, the benefits of undertaking postgraduate study are clear. But what are your options if the cost of postgraduate study is out of your budget? 

Let’s look at the financing options that can make postgraduate study more affordable.  

Loans for postgraduate study: does HECS cover postgraduate study?  

If you studied your undergraduate degree as a domestic student, you probably already know about HECS. Did you know there’s a HECS equivalent for financing postgraduate study? 

FEE-HELP works on the same premise as HECS – the Federal Government covers your tuition fees as a loan, and you pay it back through tax once you reach a taxable income threshold.  

As of January 2020, HECS and FEE-HELP have become the combined HELP loan, with a capped limit on your total loan. Find out if you’re eligible for FEE-HELP here.  

If you can’t defer tuition fees using FEE HELP, you can opt to pay your fees in instalments.  

Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) postgraduate study 

While most postgraduate degrees are full-fee paying programs, some postgraduate degrees offer Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs). 

If you secure a CSP, the government will pay for part of your course and you will pay for the remaining amount, which is known as the ‘student contribution amount’.  

The government payment is a subsidy, not a loan, so you won’t have to pay it back.  

If your course offers CSP, this is a great financing option that significantly reduces the cost of postgraduate study.  

Grants for postgraduate study 

Depending on where and what you study, where you live and several other factors, you may be eligible for a study-related grant at Deakin.  

While this financing option won’t be available to everyone undertaking postgraduate study, it’s worth checking the eligibility criteria for each of the study grants.  

Work-funded postgraduate study 

If you’re already working in the field, you may want to consider approaching your employer with a proposal for postgraduate study as professional development.  

It’s not uncommon for postgraduate students to have a cost-sharing arrangement with their employer. Upskilling is a benefit to the workplace, so it’s worth asking the question. 

Need advice on how to broach the topic? Take a look at our dedicated guide to asking your employer about postgraduate degree funding.  

Scholarships for postgraduate study 

There is a range of scholarships which can also help in financing your postgraduate study, so it pays to research your options.  

While you shouldn’t rely on receiving a scholarship for your budgeting, you’ve got to be in it to win it, and the time it takes to apply for one could be time well spent! 

Can I access other fee help options for postgraduate study? 

There are a few other financing options to consider if you’re looking to reduce costs for your postgraduate study.  

If you already have experience in your discipline, you may qualify for prior learning credit. If you have previously completed some units, or if certain units cover subjects you have prior work experience in, you may be eligible to skip these units – and therefore forego those costs.  

Additionally, if you’re a domestic student, there’s a chance you can claim your study costs on tax – including the full enrolment fee. The ATO can advise on claiming study expenses but, broadly, if your intended course is upskilling and directly relates to your work, you might qualify.  

Financing postgraduate study: we’re here to help 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of financing postgraduate study, get in touch with the Financial Assistance Office. They’ll be able to help with budgets and can point you in the right direction for support.  


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