Study is out of financial reach for many
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.