Australian Student Debt Soars, Incomes Fall Below Poverty Line

Career College Central Summary:
  • More Australians are attending university than at any time in the past 150 years, but most now struggle to live on incomes that are below the poverty line while their levels of debt have soared by almost 30% in the past six years. 
  • Many students graduate owing so much money that it will take years to repay and leave them facing a life without ever owning a home.
  • A report released on Monday by Universities Australia on the financial circumstances facing students says the situation is worse for students from poorer families and indigenous backgrounds. Based on a survey of nearly 12,000 students across the university sector, the report says the financial demands on almost half of all students outstrip their earnings. 
  • The survey found that 80% of full-time undergraduates work an average of 16 hours a week; a third regularly miss classes because of their jobs; and 17% said they often went without food or other necessities. 
  • More than a quarter of employed full-time undergraduates work more than 20 hours per week yet two out of three earn less than A$20,000 (US$18,215) a year, which is below the poverty line.
  • As a result, half of all undergraduate students rely on some form of financial support from their families. 
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