Student Finance Statistics 2021 | finder.com.au
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Being a student usually means spending late nights at the library, having cheap drinks at the local bar, and finally learning how to cook your own meals. But unfortunately for the majority of students in Australia it also means being financially insecure and having very little income and savings.
Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker has collected data from more than 25,000 Australians, and the results show that students struggle much more with their finances than those who work full-time. But if you’re a student, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to prepare for a financially secure future.
The average student vs the average full-time worker
|Full time employee||Full time student|
|Personal income||$ 86,462||$ 13,632|
|Savings amount||$ 33,492||$ 8,354|
|Savings per month||$ 1,191||$ 441|
|Can survive on savings for four weeks or less||42%||56%|
|Struggle to pay the rent||22%||35%|
|Rent increase that would cause financial hardship||$ 243||$ 154|
Financial situation of students
Not surprisingly, students have significantly lower incomes than full-time workers. The average full-time student in our survey earns $ 13,632 per year, compared to $ 86,462 for full-time workers. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Australians earning less than $ 22,168 per year are defined as living below the poverty line, which puts the average student well in poverty.
To pay for their university studies, almost a third of full-time domestic undergraduates (30%) work more than 20 hours per week, of which 10% work more than 30 hours. This figure rose from 24% in 2012, indicating that students increasingly need to work more hours to get by.
Finder research shows that students also have significantly less savings ($ 8,354) than those working full-time ($ 33,492), and are able to save less money each month ( $ 441) than full-time workers ($ 1,191). As for, more than half of students (56%) could survive on their savings for four weeks or less, compared to 42% of full-time workers. Unfortunately, this has direct implications for the standard of living and health outcomes of students. A study of Universities Australia found that 15% of domestic undergraduates regularly go without food or basic necessities because they cannot afford it.
Student well-being and financial stress
Your years in college should be some of the best of your life, but Finder data shows that students (72%) report significantly lower levels of overall happiness than full-time employees (82%). Students are also more likely to report financial stress (87%) than full-time workers (74%), including a disturbing 24% who report being extremely stressed about their finances.
While we can only speculate on the various factors that might make full-time employees happier than students, research consistently shows that there is a link between overall happiness and financial security.
Finder data shows that the most stressful expenses for students are rent or mortgage payments (36%), groceries (31%), gasoline (18%), and their cell phone bill (16 %). Additionally, students who rent are more likely to say they have trouble paying their rent (35%) than those who work full time (22%). On average, students say that a mere $ 155 increase in rent would cause them financial stress, compared to $ 243 for full-time employees.
Student debt is growing rapidly
Unfortunately, the cost of higher education follows us into the workforce. ATO data shows that the average HELP debt is $ 23,280. The average outstanding debt has increased by 62% since 2011, while inflation has only increased by 17% over the same period. During the same period, the total amount of outstanding HELP debt nearly tripled from $ 23 billion to $ 66 billion.
While you can’t necessarily control how much debt you’ll have left after college, the good news is that you won’t owe a dime before you start earning more than $ 46,620 a year. To find out the amount of your debts, you can check your balance online at my.government or by calling the ATO.
It is important that you know how much of your HELP debt is left, especially if you are looking to take on additional debt through a mortgage, for example, as this can further reduce your disposable income. If you can, opting for voluntary student loan repayments will help reduce the amount you pay through indexation fees.
How to manage your finances as a student
Establish good financial habits. Try to create a weekly budget and put all the money you can into a savings account. This will make you feel more in control of your money and give you a financial buffer for rainy days. Budgeting tools like the Finder app are also a great way to track your income and expenses in one place.
Find casual work. Jobs like food delivery, carpooling, and tutoring can help you earn money while flexibly adapting to your study schedule. You can also sign up as a participant in surveys or research groups that often pay money or give out vouchers. Check out the Finder’s guide to side activities if you need inspiration.
Take advantage of student discounts. Every little bit counts, so be sure to get yourself a dealership card. These are available to students in all states and give you discounts on things like public transportation, cafes and bars, and movie tickets. Some tech companies even offer discounts on laptops.
Consider government assistance if you need it. If you are a full-time student or undertaking an apprenticeship, you may also be eligible for government assistance, depending on how many hours you work and whether or not you live with your parents.