Claudia graduated university this week. After a long, hard slog involving countless late nights, juggling family life with lectures and tutorials, writing assignments, preparing for exams and giving up so much for those coveted letters after her name, she was able to finally receive her degree. It’s the same crap that everyone who’s been to uni will be able to relate to, but with a couple of differences.
Claudia studied while having children. Combine all the above with a screaming toddler while you’re pregnant with number two and it’s amazing she was able to graduate at all. The other thing that sets Claudia’s years of study apart from the average student is that she only recently became an Aussie. That means she was ineligible for FEE-HELP (HECS).
Although she was not a full fee paying student like many at Australian universities are, not being eligible for FEE-HELP meant that we had to pay each semester’s fees up front in full. Where Aussie students get a discount for up front payment, overseas citizens who are permanent residents on non-student visas don’t. So it was a costly experience for us as well.
The costs of getting a degree these days seem to be ever on the increase, and many young people start their careers with a sizable FEE-HELP debt. Especially those who decide on postgraduate qualifications. In fact, the costs of getting a university education are so high that many people are put off from thinking they can ever attend uni while others prepare for the costs years in advance. Some parents start saving well before the argument over what the baby’s name will be has started.
One place people decide to pour their cash into is Australian Scholarships Group. Before you sign up to many years of monthly payments with ASG, I strongly urge you to seek out the experiences of people who have gone before you. Even the quickest look at ASG’s Facebook page will show you how angry many of their clients are and how they wished they’d never put their money with ASG in the first place. Google “Australian Scholarships Group complaints” and it goes downhill from there.
It is kind of ironic that in an age when information delivered formally is so expensive, the entirety of human knowledge is accessible via the internet virtually for free. That’s how you can find out about groups like ASG. It’s also how you can find out about alternative was of investing for a university education, like a bank account, index funds or, probably the best savings vehicle for parents with young kids – an investment bond.