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Going to university

I have been attempting to get into University lately and although I was successful in being granted the courses I was interested in, that's only the first step.

Money is the biggest problem, The first big one was a grand for my accommodation. No fore warning mind you, just an email stating I had three days in order to cough up a grand.
Considering that I'm unemployed and living in a low income household with my mother of whom can barely pay the rent, this was a big kick in the guts.


Somehow we managed to scrape up a grand and pay it to the mysterious company that handles student accommodation, Not without a good deal of screaming and yelling.

Nobody seems capable of informing me if there's any other unforeseen small fortunes that have to paid up front either.

Even though I'm due to start in two months time, nobody seems capable of providing information. Phone calls to the university in question result in statements telling me to wait for further information via email.
Phone calls to the ambiguous establishment that handles student accommodation only provides the date at which I'm able to move in.

My intention was to claim a student allowance through centrelink, Which I did a month ago.
I have just received an email stating that my claim was rejected and for some incomprehensible reason further information is being sent via mail.
I imagine I'll have to fight centrelink tooth and nail on this one, as I have done many times before. For example, my previous claim for a job seekers allowance took 8 months to process.
Unfortunately, this cannot take eight months worth of phone calls and 9am office visits to rectify as I only have two months to get myself sorted for university.

Even if I do manage to get a student allowance, there is no reliable way to determine how much my allowance will be especially if I'm considered 'dependent' despite living away from home . All this effort may very well be for nothing if I'm unable to field the funds for rent or food.


And this is just the monetary side of things, I do not have the mental fortitude to even begin thinking about the actual act of furthering my education and what it may entail.

At this point, I'm at an impasse. I'm not even sure if I want to carry on dealing with the logistics of securing my monetary situation let alone deal with the countless other issues that are guaranteed to arrive.


Re: Going to university

Hey @WinfieldRed, congratulations on getting into the course you wanted!  You are very right in saying that this is only the first step, but it's such an important one - I hope you had a moment to bask in the light of that before the logistics of money and Centrelink and all of the rest kicked in.


I'm going to tag some uni students to see if they can offer any suggestions or insights:  @lokifish @mrmusic @N1ghtW1ng @Birdeye 



Re: Going to university

@WinfieldRed Oh man, this struck a bit of a chord with me.


But firstly, congrats on getting into uni! It's a whole new world but if you're like me you'll love it Smiley Very Happy


In my experience Centrelink are an absolute nightmare to deal with as a student. If you're 21 or under you'll very likely be considered dependent unless you're married or are moving from an insanely rural area. A few things that have helped me though:

- Scholarships. Most unis have equity based scholarships, and if you're living in low income housing you'll probably qualify (I managed to get mine just by having a healthcare card)

- Doing 3 subjects a semester instead of 4. You're still considered a full-time student but it's less upfront expenses for the year (and also a whole lot less stressful come exam time!)

- I know my uni offers interest-free loans to students under certain circumstances. I've never had to use this kind of service so can't tell you much about it, but it's worth seeing if your uni has something similar


Is living at home while you're studying not an option?

No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Going to university

Hi @WinfieldRed

I want to really stress the things lokifish mentioned. Unis can offer so much more help than we may initially think, so it could really be worth getting in touch with them. I know mine also has a few things in place for people with financial troubles, and there's also a medical team including psychs and a wellbeing office to offer some mental help through uni.

Everyone working at a university wants their students to do well and feel good there.

Do you think you'd be able to handle working part-time or casually while studying?

And what sort of student accomodation are you going into? - on campus, a student housing association type, a sharehouse, your own place closer to campus? Do you think there could be a more affordable option?

Re: Going to university

Quick update, Went and visited centrelink. Reason for my claim being rejected was that it was submitted too early.

There was nobody at the office at that time that knew anything about student based allowances so that's all they could tell me.
Why they can't just hold-over the claim until an acceptable date is reached is beyond me.

Went and submitted the claim again, hopefully it's 'close' enough to my start date this time.

I intend to live on campus as it's the cheapest option available at $170 a fortnight.

As for the rest of the questions, I have no idea. I don't live in proximity to the university so I can't visit in order to ask questions. I went there once for an open day a few years ago.

All the information I have amounts to two dates for various inductions,the date I can move into my room, a room number and what courses I'll be doing (Ordering and Scheduling unknown).

Re: Going to university

Hey @WinfieldRed, it looks like you're getting the runaround, and that must be very annoying! I second what @lokifish has said about Centrelink being a nightmare to deal with (as you seem to be discovering yourself).


Would you consider ringing the university admissions line again? I'm a little surprised to hear that they were not forthcoming with information considering that their job is to try and get you to enrol in a course at that institution as opposed to another. Perhaps you'll get another person who is a little more sympathetic to your situation.


Good on you for making the decision to go to uni, and getting organised with arranging everything. It's not an easy task, and is a very big transition, so I've got to give you major credit for the way you are handling everything at the moment. Good luck with it all! Heart


Re: Going to university

Hi @WinfieldRed!
Firstly, congrats on getting into the subjects you wanted! That's amazing and well done to you for making the first steps for uni. 

I hope Centrelink can quickly sort out some sort of payment for you to help you along. Sometimes I feel like its unfair how much we have to pay for an education, 

If I were you, I would continue to call and email the university in order to get the answers you need, after all, it is their job to ensure students have all the information they need. Hopefully you get everything sorted soon, and again, congratulations!