Study is out of fi­nan­cial reach for many

Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Rhi­an­non Tuffield

The cost of liv­ing could po­ten­tially be plac­ing study out of reach for many Aus­tralians, ac­cord­ing to Shep­par­ton stu­dent James Miller.

As a young Aus­tralian who has em­barked on his study with the sup­port of his fam­ily, Mr Miller, who is com­plet­ing a dou­ble de­gree in science and phys­io­ther­apy, will soon head to Bendigo to fend for himself.

While he is look­ing for­ward to the move, he said the re­al­ity of sup­port­ing himself as a stu­dent was in­tim­i­dat­ing.

Mr Miller, who has worked at a su­per­mar­ket and as a stu­dent am­bas­sador for the univer­sity to save up for the move, said a schol­ar­ship through his ed­u­ca­tion would help him ‘‘im­mensely’’.

But Mr Miller be­lieved many other stu­dents would not be as for­tu­nate.

‘‘I know quite a few stu­dents who say they just man­age with the cost, a lot of them live off re­ally ba­sic food, can’t af­ford proper meals,’’ he said.

‘‘The other re­al­ity is that you’re of­ten put in a share­house with a lot of peo­ple who are strangers at the start of the year, no stu­dent I know can af­ford their own space or unit, they’re all bunk­ing with eight or more peo­ple.’’

Mr Miller said many peo­ple who en­tered study as­sumed they could make-do liv­ing off a stu­dent al­lowance, bol­stered by part-time work while study­ing 40 hours a week.

But he said it was com­mon for stu­dents to get part-way through a course and find they could no longer make ends meet, and had to in­crease their work hours to the point where it in­ter­fered with their stud­ies.

He said it seemed as though car pay­ments, rent and util­i­ties took out sig­nif­i­cant chunks of a stu­dent’s pay cheque and those who did not have ad­e­quate sup­port would most likely not be able to re­turn to or take up study.

‘‘If peo­ple al­ready have a ca­reer and sav­ings they can def­i­nitely go back, but peo­ple who don’t have their par­ents or who are just scrap­ing by can’t re­ally go to univer­sity, and I think that’s def­i­nitely sad be­cause they can’t re­ally fol­low their dreams,’’ he said.

‘‘At the other end, I know peo­ple who fin­ished classes and then have to work un­til 10 pm, and then study for the next day, plus take on work place­ments that are un­paid.

‘‘I’m lucky in the fact that schol­ar­ships have helped me out sig­nif­i­cantly, but I’m sure my ex­pe­ri­ence out­side of home will be in­ter­est­ing.’’

Pre­par­ing for strug­gle: Shep­par­ton stu­dent James Miller said univer­sity stu­dents of­ten had to sac­ri­fice what they ate in or­der to keep afloat.

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