MY MONEY

How to be up to $102,580 better off when you graduate

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Uni students who live at home while studying graduate with a financial advantage over those who rent or live on campus, according to a new study.

Research from the Australian Scholarship Group shows a widening financial gap between students who live at home starting university in 2017 and students who rent.

Medical students who live at home for the six-year degree are an estimated $102,580 better off than those who rent. That gap is $66,027 for a four-year law degree, and $48,670 for a three-year degree in photography, journalism or nursing.

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The group's Planning for University Index, estimates the total cost of a degree including course fees, transport, computers, study placements and accommodation.

The overall cost of studying accounting, economics, human resources, law, veterinary science, dentistry and medicine has jumped by more than 20% in the past decade for students who live at home.

Future accountants, economists and HR reps who live at home while they study pay an estimated $11,855 more than their counterparts in 2007.

The cost of journalism, nursing, teaching and psychology degrees has risen by an estimated 21% in the past decade for students living at home, or 26% for those who rent.

The research predicts little relief in sight, with the overall cost of a university education forecast to jump up at least 32% for many students by 2027.

When cost of living expenses are added to the mix, students who live at home while studying a three year university degree in 2027 are predicted to be $68,984 better off than students who rent.

Holly Worrad is living at home while studying law at Macquarie University.

"I can't imagine moving out, the cost would be prohibitive," she says. "My law books cost about $150 each and every term I need four of them. The costs really start to add up over time. Hopefully I'll land a part-time job soon to help cover some of the costs but I think I'll be staying at home for some time yet."

The cost of a university education can put intense financial strain on family budgets, says ASG CEO John Velegrinis.

"Many parents plan for the cost of primary and secondary education only to be blindsided by the total cost of attaining a university degree which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The cost is exacerbated if parents have two or three children who want to attend university, with the Index revealing some families may spend close to $1 million in 10 years' time."

The index shows that students who live at home while attending university will be significantly better off financially than students who rent.

"Many students, particularly those from regional areas don't have the opportunity to live at home while attending university. Many have no option but to rent if they want to attain a degree."

What will a uni education cost your family? Visit asg.com.au.

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