University. How to make it happen! Contents About this booklet 1 Pathways: Getting to your goal 2 Taking a year off: a ‘gap year’ 4 Dealing with living and study costs 5 Scholarships: What you need to know 6 Youth Allowance: Useful information 8 Accommodation Options 12 Public Transport: Getting around 14 Ask Me… About Uni! Q & A 16 Web resources & support at university Inside back cover Disclaimer: The information in this publication is designed as a general guide only. The information was accurate as of March 2013. If you use this publication after that date, please check with the corresponding organisations that the details are current and correct. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information is correct, the University of Ballarat cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any action or decision based on the information contained in this publication. Regional Schools Outreach Program About this booklet This booklet is intended to provide a range of useful information – about Pathways, Scholarships, Youth Allowance, Accommodation, Public Transport, Gap Years and Living & Study Costs. It aims to address questions, concerns and ‘unknowns’ you might have in these areas. This booklet will be useful for students who haven’t yet decided what to do after Year 12, and those that are already interested in pursuing tertiary study. For those that don’t think that studying at university or TAFE is possible – it might show you that it is achievable and the barriers are not as insurmountable as they can seem. Initially, let’s look at a few key questions that you might firstly be considering – do I need to go to university or TAFE? Why should I go? And, how do I choose the university or TAFE for me? Ask yourself the following questions: > What sort of job do I want? What qualifications does it require? Where and how can I get them? > Will university or TAFE help me to get that job? > Will university or TAFE improve my earning potential? Become an expert at what you love best by studying at university or TAFE – and then work with people who share your interests in your dream job after you graduate! Take the opportunity to get involved in all kinds of fun activities – explore your talents or find new ones. E.g. sport, student association, social events and activities like surf trips and snow trips. > Can I get that job without university or TAFE studies? These are great questions to think about and doing your research will help you find the answers. Once you’ve made the decision to go, asking the following questions will help you decide where to go. > Can I do the course I want there? University and TAFE education has a number of benefits, such as… On average, a new university graduate’s salary is $51,000^, rising to over $66,000 within 4 years. This compares well to the median earnings for all workers in Australia, which is around $30,000*. > Would I like to move away or stay at home? Do I have a choice? > Should I choose a metropolitan or regional institution? Would I prefer a big or small campus? > Will I get in? Do I have the ATAR/prerequisites? What regional student entry schemes are there? > What support services are available? What scholarships can I get from that uni/TAFE? Many jobs require a tertiary qualification – and you’re less likely to be unemployed. The unemployment rate among the qualified (3.4%) is nearly half that of those whose education ended when they left high school.^ > What are the costs involved? Now – read on to find out more about tertiary study: getting there, supporting yourself and living away from home. *2011 Census. www.censusdata.abs.gov.au ^Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as at February 2013. Regional Schools Outreach Program 1 Pathways: Getting to your goal When referring to education, a pathway can be defined as the selection/progression of courses you study to achieve your desired qualification. In many cases you can arrive at the same career via different qualifications or pathways. It can be useful to match up different pathways with your circumstances so that you can see which study path will work best for you. There are many reasons to plan more than one pathway to your chosen career. For some, planning a pathway is about saving money or plotting a good learning path. For others, it is a way of getting around not being accepted into your preferred course. Other reasons include: > The ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) required for university courses can vary from year to year – it can be unpredictable > Where you live – do you have to move away or can you complete some/all of your studies close to home? > Cost of studying – living costs, books, equipment > Scholarship opportunities > Prerequisites & other requirements – these can vary between tertiary institutions and courses > VTAC application process – VTAC enables you to choose up to 12 preferences on your application The following diagram shows the many possible educational pathways from school to TAFE or university. As you can see, there are many ways to arrive at the same course. *You may be able to transition from VCAL into a Bachelor’s Degree depending on your subjects and grades, however it is likely you will have to go through TAFE first. Always check with you careers teacher. Student Certificate I–II C II ( TAFE ) Secondary Schooll (Years 10 or 11) Certificate C tifi t III ( TAFE ) VCE VCAL* VET in Schools Certificate C tifi t IV ( TAFE ) FAST Program or other preparatory program Non-Student Bachelor’s Degree Diploma ( TAFE ) Advanced Diploma ( TAFE ) Honours, Masters Honours Masters, Graduate Diploma Diploma, Graduate Certificate PhD, Doctorate PhD (This diagram has been adapted from the University of Ballarat’s 2013/14 Course Guide). 2 Regional Schools Outreach Program The following pathways are all legitimate options for becoming a teacher. Many careers have multiple pathways to select from, meaning it is always a good idea to research a few different ways to get to your chosen career. Year 12 Year 12 Bachelor of Arts* Year 12 Bachelor of Arts Year 12 * Teacher Bachelor of Education Masters of Education Teacher Bachelor of Education* Teacher (1st YEAR ONLY) Diploma of Children’s Services Bachelor of Education (2nd YEAR) Teacher Note: Prerequisites, credits, acceptance requirements and names of courses vary between universities and TAFE providers. In this diagram a ‘Bachelor of Arts’ is used as an example of a pathway course, however there are many other courses that will work equally as well. Always check with the university or TAFE before making a decision about your pathway plan, and prior to applying for a course with the intention of using that course as a pathway. Pathway options exist for most vocations, such as business, health, education, humanities, science, hospitality, information technology and engineering. Pathways may involve studying at TAFE (e.g. Certificate IV or Diploma level), then moving into a Bachelor’s degree at university; or starting one Bachelor’s degree and transferring into another. Graduate Diplomas are another way to obtain an additional university qualification in a new area after completing a Bachelor’s degree. A number of alternative pathway options may enable you to get into the course that you want: > Wait until mid-year entry – sometimes the entry requirements are different > Apply to a number of providers offering similar courses > Apply directly to the provider > Repeat your VCE studies in order to improve your ATAR > Consider an employer who encourages further study or training e.g. defence forces For pathways information, including publications, courses and entry requirements, contact the university and/or TAFE that you are interested in, visit their website, or discuss your options and interests with your careers advisor. > Complete some work experience to demonstrate your interest in a field of study, and then try again > Undertake an Open Universities Australia course > Undertake bridging/preparation/foundation courses such as the FAST Program > Accept a less desirable course and then transfer, if possible > Take some time out and re-apply as a mature age student This information was sourced from www.vtac.edu.au, http://studyassist.gov.au & from individual university websites. Information was correct as of February 2013, however please check again prior to applying for any course. Regional Schools Outreach Program 3 Taking a year off: a ‘gap year’ Overseas working holidays: www.owh.com.au Placement into work, training & study overseas: www.studentplacement.com.au Youth Central: www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au Global Volunteering for 18–25 year olds: www.lattitude.org.au A ‘gap year’ is a year between finishing Year 12 and commencing further education or training, usually spent on other activities such as work, travel or volunteering. Many students take a gap year, but it is important to be doing it for a reason. A gap year is not for everyone, and if you’re not careful it can have a negative effect on your future studies. > You want to make some money before going to university or TAFE > You’re not sure what you want to do in the future > You don’t get into the course you really want to do Taking a gap year may allow you to develop work skills, gain life experience, or earn money to assist with living or study costs while you’re at university. It might also help you qualify for Youth Allowance as an independent – though this will depend on a number of criteria. See the Youth Allowance section of this booklet for more information. For those of you who are going to complete your year 12 there is good news! You are likely to earn $330,000 more in your lifetime than someone who has not completed year 12. Furthermore those who go on to complete an undergraduate degree will earn approximately $2.9 million over their working life, that’s over $1,000,000 more than someone who didn’t finish year 12! However, if you take a gap year you may lose motivation to study by being away from formal education or you could be seduced by earning money straight away. Just remember though that those who go on to university earn significantly more in the long term, have better working conditions, and are less likely to be unemployed. > You want a break from studying > You want to gain skills and experience to get into a course > You want to get some life experience or travel before commencing study > You may lose touch with your skills > You may lose motivation > Depending on what you choose to do in your gap year it could be quite expensive > If you decide to work you may be seduced by the money in the short term > Overseas working holidays > Placement into work, training & study overseas > Getting a job closer to home > Volunteering Differences in lifetime earnings $ 3,500,000 $ 3,000,000 $ 2,500,000 $ 2,000,000 $ 1,500,000 $ 1,000,000 $ 500,000 $0 Non-Year 12 Year 12 University Graduate Set a budget and stick to it: it’s important not to overspend or waste your hard-earned savings. Don’t forget why you’re doing it: if you’re saving money for university – then save money for university! Make a plan and stick to it: it’s easy to lose track of your goals if you haven’t got a plan in place. Establish if you are going to develop personally or professionally: make sure whatever you are doing, whether it’s volunteering in a third-world country or working on a farm, you’re getting something of value out of it. This information was sourced from www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) 2012 & individual university websites. Information was correct as of February 2013, however please check again prior to planning any gap year. 4 Regional Schools Outreach Program Dealing with living and study costs While you’ll need to budget and plan for study and living costs before and during your tertiary education, the main thing to keep in mind is that it is affordable, and not as scary as what you might think. Your course fees will depend on the course, university and subjects you choose. Fees may change from year to year, so check with individual universities. Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) – Currently, CSP fees for a full time study load are between $5868 and $9,792 per year of study – depending on the course. But wait! The good news is you don’t have to pay a single cent of this until you’re earning a good salary. By using HECS-HELP, you start paying the cost of your course back when you earn more than $49,095 (2012–2013) in a year, or you can make extra repayments whenever you like. Fee paying places – these have been phased out for domestic university students, apart from in some private universities. Unless you plan to study at a private university, you don’t need to worry. You’ll also need to plan for other study-related costs. > Student Amenities Fee – This fee is charged by higher education providers to fund student services such as food, sports and recreation, childcare, counselling, legal, health, housing and employment. In 2013, the student amenities fee is $273 (always double check with your chosen university) per year for a full time student. However you can choose to defer this payment through the HECS-HELP scheme. > Resources – Allow money for text books, computer, internet, equipment or other extras required by your course – e.g. if part of your course is in the workplace, you may need a name badge, police check and/or appropriate clothing. Excursions can also cost money. You’ll need to plan for living costs as well – meals, mobile phone, shopping, entertainment and maybe accommodation and its associated expenses – such as power bills and bond. > Plan your meals and shop at discounted supermarkets – avoid impulse buying. > Have a set amount aside each week for entertainment – you want to have a social life, but don’t blow the budget! > Get a Centrelink health care card to access discounts on a variety of living costs. Refer to page 9 for more information on health care cards. > Travel costs also need to be planned for – you’ve got to get around, and public transport is a cheap option – see the information in this booklet. > Avoid using a credit card. > Part-time work (in moderation) is an option, and universities will be able to help you find a job. You can earn up to $407.50 per fortnight without your Youth Allowance being affected. Generally it is recommended that a full time university student works no more than 6–10 hours per week. > Scholarships and Centrelink benefits can also help. See the relevant sections in this booklet. > Create your own budget at www.moneysmart.gov.au or alternatively you can download the ‘TrackMySPEND’ app. As you’ll have a limited income, it’s really important to plan carefully and manage your expenditure. This information was sourced from www.moneysmart.gov.au & individual university websites. Information was correct as of February 2013, however please check again prior to planning or budgeting. Regional Schools Outreach Program 5 Scholarships: What you need to know Scholarships can help directly with the costs of studying, or assist with accommodation and living expenses. Scholarships may be particularly helpful if you: > need to move away from home to study > are experiencing financial hardship > could use some extra assistance A scholarship may take the form of money, study resources (computers, books, etc), or subsidised fees or services. Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay a scholarship back. Not all scholarships are based on achievement – there are many different types of scholarships for students applying to go to university or TAFE. Some are aimed at students who have to move to study, others for students experiencing financial hardship, whilst others are based on academic, community or sporting merit. Scholarships can be broadly categorised as: > Federal Government Student Income Support Scholarships > University Scholarships (including Equity & Course/Academic scholarships) > Community & Corporate Scholarships Student Income Support Scholarships for university students include Student Start-Up Scholarships for students experiencing financial hardship, Relocation Scholarships for students who need to relocate for university study and Indigenous Access, Education Costs and Accommodation Costs Scholarships for Indigenous students. > Student Start-Up Scholarships are worth $1,025 per semester in 2013 (indexed yearly) and are available in the first year of study and subsequent years to those on Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY and Austudy. The Start-Up Scholarship is designed to provide assistance to university students for up-front costs of text books and specialised equipment. These are paid twice yearly at the beginning of each semester. > Relocation Scholarships are available to students on dependent Youth Allowance/ABSTUDY (Living Allowance) who need to move away from home to study, and are paid in a lump sum once a year. In 2013, students whose family home is in an area classified as Inner Regional, Outer Regional, Remote or Very Remote Australia will receive: • $4,048 in the the first year they are required to move away from home, • $2,024 in the second and third years and • $1,012 in the fourth and any subsequent years away from home Students whose family home is NOT classified as being in any of the above categories will receive: • $4,048 in the first year they are required to move away from home and • $1,012 in subsequent years You can find out what classification your home is in by going to www.centrelink.gov.au/wps/portal/clk_common/RIS These scholarships are administered by Centrelink. To receive these scholarships you must be a full-time university student. 6 Regional Schools Outreach Program For the Relocation scholarship you do not need to make a separate application. When you claim a Centrelink payment, you eligibility is assessed at the same time. Continuing students who qualify for a Relocation Scholarship should receive their scholarship with the first payment they receive after the 24th of February in the study year. University Equity Scholarships usually have similar criteria to the Student Income Support Scholarships, but you apply for these through the university. The values of these scholarships vary, and may also include practical items such as computers, rather than money. If you are Indigenous or from a drought-affected area there may be additional university Equity Scholarships that you can apply for. Students receiving an equity or merit based scholarship/s up to $7223 are exempt from the Centrelink income test. This means that these scholarships have less of an impact on your fortnightly Centerlink payment. The $7223 applies to the total amount of eligible scholarships that you recieve – not to each scholarship. The amount is indexed each year. Individual faculties or courses offer a variety of scholarships, and the values of these range from a few hundred dollars to more than $20,000. Generally either a high ATAR or a relevant form of community service is required. An interview or extra information may be requested. Be sure to check with the individual faculty or course coordinator for eligibility requirements. Scholarships based purely on academic merit are usually awarded on ATAR alone. You may be automatically considered for these scholarships when you apply through VTAC, however for some scholarships you need to apply through the university. A one-off payment of $4,485 (indexed yearly), are available to Indigenous students in their first year of university study, who are on income support from Centrelink or otherwise assessed as having low income. Indigenous Education Costs Scholarships of $2,377 per annum and Indigenous Accommodation Costs Scholarships of $4,754 per annum, both for up to four years and indexed annually are also available. These scholarships are administered by universities. There are a wide variety of scholarships for university and TAFE students available from community organisations and corporate businesses. The application methods vary greatly and may include essays, public speaking, forms and/or portfolio presentations. These scholarships provide money, internships, accommodation, travel support or other forms of assistance. Examples of organisations that provide such scholarships include Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA), Rural Finance, Rotary Club and the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. More information can be found by going to universities websites. In conjunction, www.myfuture.edu.au is a great resource for scholarship information. Simply go to the website, click on ‘The Facts’ tab and navigate down to ‘Funding’ and ‘Awards and Scholarships’. Here there are 400+ scholarships available for students applying to go to university. For Federal Government Student Income Support Scholarships, you do not need to apply separately – Centrelink will automatically pay you if you’re eligible. Check with Centrelink when applying for your Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY, or go to www.humanservices.gov.au, visit a Centrelink office, or phone Centrelink on 13 24 90. > Always check the criteria for each scholarship you are applying for > Check the closing dates! > VTAC applications open in August and close late September for scholarships administered through VTAC. See the VTAC guide and VTAC’s Access and Equity Scholarships guide > For some scholarships you apply direct to the university, in these instances the time frame may be different > Double check the closing dates! As many organisations that offer scholarships will not even look at a late application, so you may miss out! Many scholarships require you to complete either an online or hardcopy application, and can include some supporting documentation. Make sure that you have satisfied the eligibility criteria as best you can. Most equity scholarships will require Centrelink details. This information was sourced from www.vtac.edu.au, www.humanservices.gov.au & individual university scholarship websites. Information was correct in February 2013, however please check information before applying for any course or scholarship. Regional Schools Outreach Program 7 Youth Allowance: Useful information Youth Allowance provides financial assistance for young people who are studying full-time, undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship or training and/or looking for work. It may also provide assistance for young people who are ill or temporarily incapacitated. Depending on your eligibility you may be able to get Youth Allowance while still completing secondary school. Once you finish Year 12, as soon as you meet the eligibility criteria, either as a dependent (based on your parent’s financial status under the Parental Means Test), or as an independent (see the independence criteria) you will be able to claim Youth Allowance. Start by contacting Centrelink to signal your intent to claim and to assess your eligibility. You must submit your Youth Allowance claim form within 14 days of first making contact with Centrelink and, if you are eligible, your payment will usually be back-dated to the date of your first contact. There are some circumstances where your payment may start later – contact Centrelink for more information. The amount of Youth Allowance you receive depends on whether: > you, your parents’/guardians’ or your partner’s income and assets are above a certain amount; You may get Youth Allowance if you are: > you are independent; > 16 to 21 years old and looking for full-time work or undertaking approved activities such as a preparatory course for tertiary education, some language, literacy and numeracy courses, schoolbased apprenticeship or traineeship; or > you have to live away from your permanent home to study; > 18 to 24 years old and studying an approved course full-time (for a full list check the Centrelink website but includes courses such as secondary school, TAFE, as well as higher education); or > if you have a large family. > 16 to 24 years old and undertaking a full-time Australian Apprenticeship; or > 15 years of age if Centrelink considers you to be independent. > you have a partner; > you have children; and/or Note: if you are under 18 years of age, your payment will usually go to one of your parents. You will need to inform Centrelink which parent is to receive your payment. The table below shows the maximum fortnightly payments for Youth Allowance in February 2013, however your payment may be less depending on how you meet the above criteria. Single with no children, under 18 years and living at home: $223.00 Single with no children, under 18 years and NOT living at home: $407.50 Single with no children, 18 years and over and living at home: $268.20 Single with no children, 18 years and over and NOT living at home: $407.50 To get an estimate of Youth Allowance benefits for your circumstances, visit the online calculator by searching for ‘Online Estimators’ at the Centrelink website. 8 Regional Schools Outreach Program Distance Education students may be eligible for Fares Allowance for one return trip during the study year if they have to attend a compulsory residential component of their course. The Start-Up Scholarship is designed to provide assistance to university students for up-front costs of text books and specialised equipment. The Relocation Scholarship provides assistance for university students who need to move away from home to study. See the Scholarships section in this booklet for more information. You may be able to receive an Advance Payment or a Special Employment Advance on your Youth Allowance of up to $500. This is ‘paid back’ by deductions from your Youth Allowance payments. For more information about benefit entitlements see the Centrelink website or call 13 24 90. If you depend on your parents financially, but have to live away from home to look for work or while you are training, studying or undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship, you may be able to receive the Away From Home rate. This is a higher amount of Youth Allowance. If you are considered independent you may receive this rate if you are not living with your parents. For Youth Allowance, full-time study means: As well as Youth Allowance, if you live away from home and pay rent you may be eligible to receive Rent Assistance. The maximum amount of Rent Assistance is $121.00 per fortnight if you live by yourself, or a maximum of $80.67 per fortnight if you share accommodation with others (amount indexed twice yearly). > your course and study load is considered full-time by the institution where you are studying, or > you are doing at least 75 per cent of the full-time workload, or > if none of these apply, you are undertaking at least 15 contact hours of study per week. You may also be considered a full-time student if studying at least 66% of the normal full-time workload because: > this is the institution’s normal requirements for the course, or > you have a specific direction in writing from your deputy principal, academic registrar or equivalent officer, or Low Income Health Care Card holders are entitled to: > State and Local Government concessions such as health care costs e.g. ambulance, dental and eye care; public transport; water rates; energy and electricity bills; > you have a written recommendation from your deputy principal, academic registrar or equivalent officer for academic or vocational reasons. > Commonwealth health concessions; For Youth Allowance, an approved combination of parttime study and other activities means: > concessions offered by private companies, for example local cinemas; > you have a study load less than 75 per cent of a fulltime workload, and > reduced cost of medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). > you need to enter an Employment Pathway Plan and undertake other activities to make up a full-time workload (for example Job Search). If you are a tertiary student and you have to live away from your permanent home to study you may be eligible for Fares Allowance. Fares Allowance helps with the cost of travel from your home to your educational institution to start your course, and from your educational institution to your home when you finish or discontinue studies for the year. You may also be entitled to Fares Allowance for one return trip between your educational institution and your home during the study year. If you are studying at a tertiary level, you will need to finish your course within the allowable time for the course you are doing (as stipulated by the institution). Regional Schools Outreach Program 9 Youth Allowance is a payment to assist you while you are studying, training or looking for work. If you do not meet your study requirements, other activity test requirements or attend an interview when requested to do so by either Centrelink or your education provider, your payments may stop. The Parental Means Test does not apply when: > you are independent (see below); or > your parents receive income support payments from the Australian Government to support your family; or > your parents are receiving Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment (ECRP); or > either parent has a Health Care Card. The Parental Means Test measures whether your parents can financially support you while you are a student or looking for work, and helps determine your eligibility and rate of dependent Youth Allowance. The Parental Means Test has three parts: If your Youth Allowance is assessed under the Parental Means Test, your parents’ income will be reassessed yearly. > Family Assets Test The Family Assets Test takes into account personal, business and farm assets. The test is based on how much your family would receive for the assets if they sold them, less any debts or mortgages they owe. A 75% discount is applied to business and farm assets. No payment can be made if your family’s assets exceed $627,000. If you are unsure of wether you are eligible, always check with Centrelink. Parental income includes: • your parents’ combined taxable income; • child support; • the value of employee fringe benefits they receive; • any income from a country other than Australia; and • business losses (including negatively geared property and shares). If your parents’ taxable income for the 2011–2012 financial year is $47,815 or less, your payments will not be affected by the income test. If you are unsure always check with Centrelink > you are aged 22 years or more and a full-time student or Australian Apprentice; or > have supported yourself through employment Generally to be considered independent you have supported yourself through full-time paid employment for at least 18 months within any two year period. You do not need to work for 18 consecutive months, or in the same job. Full-time employment means that you have worked for an average of at least 30 hours per week throughout the 18 months. Use the check independence through work history link on the Centrelink website; or > are legally married or in a registered relationship; or > are living in a de facto relationship with another person as a member of a couple for at least 12 months; or > have a dependent child; > it is unreasonable for you to live at home because: • there is extreme family breakdown, or The Family Actual Means Test measures what some families spend and save over a certain amount of time, that is, their actual means. The Family Actual Means Test only applies if one or both of your parents in the previous financial year: • there is a serious risk if you continue to live in the parental home, or • you are consistently deprived of basic necessities such as food, water, clothing, power, shelter or sleep, or • were self-employed or a partner in a partnership; or • • have claimed a business loss, or your health and well-being are seriously threatened by drug or alcohol abuse, criminal or illegal activities or there is violence in the home, or • have an interest in a trust, private company or unlisted public company; or • your parent/s are unable to provide a suitable home because they lack stable accommodation; or • are business migrants; or • have foreign income or assets worth $2500 or more. ^www.guidesacts.fahcsia.gov.au 10 If you can demonstrate you are independent of your family, the Parental Means Test will not apply to you. You are considered independent if: Regional Schools Outreach Program > you are a refugee, an orphan, or are (or have been) in state care; or > your parent/s are unable to exercise their parental responsibilities because they are in a nursing home, are mentally incapacitated, cannot be located or are in prison; or > you are aged 18 and over, and have a work history but are experiencing disadvantage in education or employment. Students from areas classified as inner regional, outer regional, remote and very remote can be assessed as independent if, since leaving secondary school, they: > have earned at least 75 per cent of Wage Level A of the National Training Wage Schedule included in a modern award in an 18 month period. This equates to $21,618^ as of February 2013; or > have worked part-time (at least 15 hours per week) for at least two years. To be assessed as independent under these arrangements, you must be a full-time student and must need to move away from home in order to study. It is also a requirement that your parents earned less than $150,000 in the base tax year The Australian Bureau of Statistics determines whether an area is considered to be regional or remote. Find out which area your family home is in using the ASGC-RA search which can be found at www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/ Content/locator Note: in some cases you can still be considered independent, for instance if you are particularly disadvantaged or you have some other exceptional circumstances. Centrelink applies the Personal Income Test each fortnight to the amount of money you earn. If you earn any money at all, you must tell Centrelink. You must also tell them the hours you have worked each fortnight. As a student or Australian apprentice on Youth Allowance you can earn up to $405 before tax per fortnight before your payment is affected. The Personal Assets Test only applies if you are independent. The assets limits will vary, depending on whether or not you have a partner or own your home. Youth Allowance is counted as part of taxable income. Tax can be taken out of the payment at your request. It is a good idea to have some tax taken out so you don’t get caught paying back money at the end of the financial year, while Centrelink payments are offset always consult Centrelink or your accountant for further advice. To make sure Centrelink pays you the correct amount of Youth Allowance, you need to tell Centrelink within 14 days if your circumstances change. Note: a complete list of all the things you need to tell Centrelink is on the back of their letters to you. If you are getting Youth Allowance and you do not tell Centrelink if your circumstances change, then your Youth Allowance payment may be delayed, or you may be paid the incorrect amount. This may need to be paid back. Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is intended only as a general guide to payments and services. It is your responsibility to decide if you wish to apply for a Centrelink payment and to make an application, with regard to your particular circumstances. This information was accurate in February 2013. If you use this publication after that date, please check with Centrelink that the details are current and correct. The information contained within this fact sheet has been edited for the purposes of the Regional Schools Outreach Program. You are advised to consult Centrelink for full details as the categories for eligibility here are not exhaustive. This information is designed as a general guide only, and is sourced from Centrelink’s Youth Allowance Brochure and website. Full information can be found at www.humanservices.gov.au under the students and trainees tab. Regional Schools Outreach Program 11 Accommodation Options While some students will be able to live at home while they are studying, many will need to move away in order to pursue tertiary education. This can be both an exciting and daunting time for many students, and this information will hopefully help to make the transition easier. Being organised and planning early is the first step to enjoying life away from home. There are a number of options, each with their own pros and cons. Regardless of where you are living, you’ll need to factor in entertainment and ancillary costs – those little things that just spring up – like snacks and phone bills. Living in university residences is a common choice for many students who move away from home to study – being close to classes, social activities and support services. Internet, cleaners and power costs are usually included in the accommodation costs, and common areas are cleaned regularly. Depending on where you study, you will have the option to self-cater or have some or all meals supplied. There are a number of employment opportunities available for students living on-campus, as well as sporting and social activities. As places in oncampus accommodation generally fill up quickly, you will often have to apply before you receive a course offer. Refer to individual university websites for their particular timelines. Generally you will live on-campus for the majority of the year, but will need to move out over summer. 12 Regional Schools Outreach Program Run by the university, these are fairly similar to on-campus accommodation, except they are usually located in a nearby suburb. You will usually be living with fewer people but, as with on-campus accommodation, utilities are included in your overall fees. You will generally need to buy and prepare your own meals. Application methods are usually the same as for on-campus accommodation. Renting through a real estate agent is fairly common among students, as it can be cheaper in some locations. Renting gives you more freedom but also a bit more responsibility than living on-campus. You’ll need to factor in a bond, gas and electricity, telephone, utilities connection, bills and furnishing. There may also be greater transport costs if you are living some distance from the university. Also, rent needs to be paid for 52 weeks of the year, whereas you would go home over the holidays if living on-campus – and not pay accommodation fees during that time. Choosing good housemates is important to ensure a pleasant experience. The Department of Human Services may be able to assist with providing bond assistance. www.dhs.vic.gov.au You may be able to board with relatives or a family referred by the university, which is often a cheap and straightforward option. Meals and utilities are usually factored into your board. However, it is important to respect the family you are living with and it can be difficult to establish a social network as quickly as if you were living on-campus. Boarding privately often allows you to commit more time to study than if you were renting or living on-campus with other students. Living in on-campus or university managed housing can range between $150–$350 per week, depending on the university and the facilities provided. Renting privately can cost from $80–$150 per week per person, depending on location and number of people sharing the rent. You will also need to factor in groceries, utilities and set-up fees on top of that cost. The cost of private board can vary, depending on the location, family and facilities provided. The best thing you can do is budget, work out what assistance you can get, and decide what sort of accommodation is going to suit you best socially and personally. The www.moneysmart.gov.au/manging-my-money/ budgeting is a fantastic resources and provides up to date information and useful tips for manging your money. There is also a free app available for iPhone and Android phones, ‘Track My SPEND’, which is useful in setting up a budget and seeing where you are spending money and where you might be able to save. The ASG publication ‘How to survive Uni & TAFE without living on two-minute noodles’ is also a good source of information, and can be found at: www.asg.com.au/howtosurvive There are a number of sources of financial assistance which can help greatly in paying for accommodation. While living away from home can be expensive, there are ways to do it. As mentioned previously in this booklet the Federal Government offers Relocation Scholarships (see page 6 for more information) for those students who need to move away from home to study. There are also hundreds of scholarships on offer from many different universities. It is worth looking at the universities websites you would like to go to for more information as well as registering for scholarships with your VTAC registration and search www.myfuture.edu.au for even more scholarship options. Always apply for as many as you can, as every year scholarships go unused as no-one applies for them! Even if you think you are an outside chance - APPLY! See pages 8–11 for more information or visit the Centrelink website www.humanservices.gov.au Working part-time can help supplement your living and accommodation costs – university employment services are a good spot to start looking. However, make sure that you can balance work, study and social life – generally 6–12 hours per week of work is the maximum recommended. In some cases, your family may have money put aside to support you in your studies, or be able to lend you funds to help pay upfront costs. There is a wide variety of support available when you are living on-campus at a university. Most residences will have existing students as mentors or advisors who can offer advice, answer questions and get you settled in to the day-to-day life of living on-campus. There will also be accommodation staff available to help out with enquiries and refer you on if need be. You are also close to university support services such as counselling, employment services, financial advice, academic support/tutoring, disability support, Indigenous education services and campus health clinics. Most universities can also offer student loans which may also help with some of your day-to-day costs. By living on-campus, you have a ready made social network, which can be really useful when you are feeling homesick or just need someone to talk to while having a break from study. The important thing is to maintain a healthy balance between study, social life and any parttime work you may decide to take on. Ask Me...About Uni! is a fantastic new service which offers high school students a chance to ask current University of Ballarat students anything they would like to know about university life, accommodation, scholarships, and support services. If you have any questions you would like to ask simply go to www.AskMeRSOP.com.au and submit your question! It’s a good idea to check out the accommodation websites of universities you are interested in, speak to current and former residents, and speak with accommodation staff. Open Days are a good source of information and are a great way to have a look at your options. Remember open days are not just for year 12 students! If you are considering renting privately, Consumer Affairs Victoria (http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au) is a good source of information. Universities may be able to refer you to families looking for boarders. Furthermore, the ASG publication ‘How to Survive Uni and TAFE’ is an excellent general ‘moving out’ resource. This information was sourced from www.asg.com.au & individual university websites. Information was correct as of February 2013, however please check again prior to applying for any course/accommodation service. Regional Schools Outreach Program 13 Public Transport: Getting around Concession travel costs around half the full fare and is available for most fare types. You can travel with a concession ticket if you are aged 16 years or younger, or carry an approved Victorian Concession Card. These include: Public Transport Victoria: www.ptv.vic.gov.au or 1800 800 007 Myki: www.myki.com.au or 136 954 (13 MYKI: information about Myki – Victoria’s new ticketing system) Myki is a new payment system that has been rolled out, replacing Metcard on Melbourne trams, trains and buses, and tickets on Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo, Seymour, Warragul and Latrobe Valley bus services. Other ticketing systems are still in place outside of these areas and in some cases operate alongside Myki. > Victorian Public Transport (VPT) Student Concession Card: A VPT Concession Card is for Primary, Secondary and Tertiary students who are ineligible for a Centrelink Health Care Card. You can apply for this card by completing the 2013 Victorian Public Transport (VPT) Student Concession Card and Student Pass Application Form found online at www.ptv.vic.gov.au or at some stations. There is a $9 per year application fee, and you will need to provide a passport styled photo. • Available for eligible primary, secondary and tertiary students. • You must be studying full-time and attending an eligible school, university or other tertiary institution. Most are included, but check the VPT website for details. You must also be a citizen or permanent Australian resident. • Student identity cards issued by schools and tertiary institutions do not entitle you to student concessions on public transport. Myki will be progressively rolled out in 2013 on V/line trains from Melbourne - Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and the Latrobe Valley. Keep visiting the Public Transport Victoria website for updates. Reusable Myki cards are pre-purchased online, over the phone, and at some retail outlets, mobile discovery centres and stations (the cards themselves are $3 for student concession holders) or $6 for full fare travelers. Myki Money and Pass (types of credit) are ‘loaded’ onto your Myki card electronically like phone credit. ‘Myki Money’ is best if you travel infrequently and you want flexibility or you like to pay as you go. Whilst a ‘Myki Pass’ is best for regular travellers, and can be bought as a 7 day Myki Pass, or a 28-365 day pass. You swipe your Myki card when boarding and disembarking the bus/train/tram, and it will automatically calculate the cheapest fare according to your travel. 14 Regional Schools Outreach Program > Health Care Card: Issued by Centrelink, this card entitles you to concession fares on public transport services within Victoria and interstate legs of V/Line coach and/or Link services. • Only cards with a Victorian address are valid. • The concession applies only to the cardholder and not others named on the card, even if they are travelling with the cardholder. • You do not need a VPT Student Concession Card if you have a Health Care Card. Melbourne public transport is split into Zone 1 and Zone 2, with Zone 1 including the CBD and inner suburbs and Zone 2 being the remaining area extending to the outskirts. Different fares are charged for travel in and between each Zone, however the Myki system automatically calculates this for you when you swipe on and off the bus, train or tram. Public transport is fairly regular in Melbourne, particularly around the peak times of the day and on the busy routes – including to and from universities and other education facilities, so you're never waiting too long for a tram or train! Timetables and journey planners are available to help from the Public Transport Victoria website. Zones 2 hour travel (Myki Money) Daily (Myki Money) 7 Day Myki Pass 28-365 Day Myki Pass (Daily Rate) Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 1 Zone 2 Full fare $3.50 $2.42 $5.92 Concession $1.75 $1.21 $2.96 Full fare $7.00 $4.84 $11.84 Concession $3.50 $2.42 $5.92 Full fare $35.00 $24.20 $59.20 Concession $17.50 $12.10 $29.60 Full fare $4.30 $2.86 $6.64 Concession $2.15 $1.43 $3.32 Short term 2 hour and Daily tickets for irregular travelers are available but are around 70 cents to $1 more expensive than using ‘Myki Money’. Regional Bus – Myki areas: Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo, Seymour, Warragul and Latrobe Valley. Regional Bus – Category A & B bus tickets: Most regional buses in areas outside of Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo, Seymour, Warragul and Latrobe Valley still use category ‘A’ and ‘B’ tickets, which you purchase on the bus when travelling. The majority of towns are Category A; however Ararat, Beaufort and Stawell are the main towns in Category B. 2 hour, daily, weekly and monthly tickets can be purchased. V/Line tickets: V/Line’s ticketing system operates on regional train and coach services as well as giving limited access to metropolitan trains, trams and buses, and local bus services in some regional cities, this will be phased out in 2013. > Tickets are either machine-printed or hand-written by staff. Myki may eventually replace these tickets. > Types of tickets include: Peak or Off-Peak; Single; Weekly; Monthly; Date-to-date; Yearly; Family Traveller; V/Line group travel, just check at the counter as to which ticket you need. This information has been sourced from www.myki.com.au, www.ptv.vic.gov.au. Prices and content were correct in February 2013, however check the websites before travelling. Regional Schools Outreach Program 15 Anyth Anything you need to know about University? How H ow will wiill I a fford uni? uni? afford What W hat u uni ni to choose? choose? How H ow will wiill I get get tthere? here? Where W h e re wi will ill I live? liive? How H ow will wiill I ma make ake friends? friends? s Ask our friendly u university students to help answer your questions using the Regional Schools Outreach Program’s online question and an answer service... ‘‘Ask Ask A Me… About Uni!’ It is free, safe and helpful! Go to AskMeRSOP.com.au for the answers We’d We’d love to hear from from you! www.AskMeRSOP.com.au www.AskMeRSOP SOP P..com.au Web resources and support at university Information about university/TAFE, courses, careers, fees, scholarships, gap years, decision making, applications, etc. Government Financial Support: http://studyassist.gov.au My Future: – includes detailed scholarship information. www.myfuture.edu.au Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre: www.vtac.edu.au Australian Scholarships Group www.asg.com.au Information on studying at TAFE: www.tafe.vic.gov.au Information on youth services & gap years: www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au Myki: www.myki.com.au or 136 954 (13 MYKI) Independent information on tertiary study and courses: www.gooduniguide.com.au Public Transport Victoria: www.ptv.vic.gov.au Information on student income support and new scholarships: www.humanservices.gov.au Information about career planning and job seeking: www.year12whatnext.gov.au Individual university websites such as: www.ballarat.edu.au www.monash.edu.au www.latrobe.edu.au www.vu.edu.au (Victoria University) www.deakin.edu.au www.rmit.edu.au www.acu.edu.au (Australian Catholic University) www.swinburne.edu.au www.unimelb.edu.au Web: www.ballarat.edu.au/outreach Email: [email protected] While you are expected to be an independent adult at university and TAFE, you don’t have to do it on your own. There’s a wide range of support services available at most institutions. Support services available include > Counselling – careers, personal and financial > Academic support & mentoring > Medical services > Disability support Overseas Working Holidays: www.owh.com.au Global Volunteering 18–25 year olds www.lattitude.org.au > Student associations > Indigenous education centres You can find information about these services on individual university/TAFE websites. Placement into work, training & study overseas: www.studentplacement.com.au Regional Schools Outreach Program 17 Make it work for you. For more information www.ballarat.edu.au/outreach Funded by the Australian Government under the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) Proudly supported by © 2010–2013 University of Ballarat.
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