Regional study costs to rise 50%

Source: Bendigo Advertiser

REGIONAL students will pay more for a university education than their city counterparts, according to a recent study by the Australian Scholarship Group (ASG).

A study conducted by the ASG revealed the cost of a university education is set to rise by 50 per cent in the next decade, and regional students are expected to be hardest hit.

The ASG considered a range of variables including university fees, transport and rent to determine the true cost of a university education. 

The study forecasts regional students will be hardest hit by the 50 per cent jump in the cost of a university education.

It says  many rural students face more than double the amount of living expenses compared to metropolitan students, who are more likely to live at home during university. 

ASG chief executive John Velegrinis said it was frightening what a university education could cost, especially for regional students who needed to move into rental accommodation. 

La Trobe University Bendigo campus director Andrew Skewes said a rise in cost would create a greater burden for people when considering whether to studying at a tertiary level.

“Cost does come as an issue for many families, particularly those families where there is more than one child attending university or students who come from low socio-economic backgrounds,” he said.

“The cost of completing a university education can be really challenging and no doubt will create a burden for some families.”

But Mr Skewes said it was impossible to place a value on gaining a university degree.

“The value you get from studying and completing a degree far outweighs the costs of the course, particularly over a lifetime,” he said.

Included in the 50 per cent rise is the cost of a university degree. The ASG estimates course costs for accounting, law, veterinary science and medicine degrees will increase from $9,792 a year in 2013 to $15,545 in 2023.

Journalism, nursing, teaching and psychology degrees are also expected to jump from $3,447 to $9,315 a year, over the next 10 years.

Mr Velegrinis said the cost of sending three children to university was the equivalent of buying a new home.

“Many parents plan for their children’s primary and secondary education, only to be blind-sided by university course fees and living expenses that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.” he said.

But Mr Skewes said there were a range of systems in place to ensure education was accessible to everyone.

“We (La Trobe University Bendigo campus) offer a range of scholarships that assist students in funding their university education,” he said.

“Some of them are university owned and are directed at students who have to move away from home to study.”

Parents can calculate the cost of their children’s education using the Australian Scholarship Group’s free online calculator by visiting www.asg.com.au/calculator

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