Current students in tertiary preparation programs

As an adult learner undertaking an adult Yr12 or tertiary preparation program in Brisbane, Gold Coast or Caboolture, your TAFE institute or Senior college, in partnership with QUT and Griffith University, is offering you a range of services:

Future students

Where do I start?

Course advice and career counselling

Most universities, TAFEs and schools have advisers you can contact to discuss course options prior to enrolment including what to study, how to apply/enrol, support services for students and so on. Check your educational institution's students services guide for more information, or contact us to speak to the Adult Learner Project Officer.

Phone: 07 3138 0701


If you don't know what you want to do you can discuss your options with us or with a Careers Counsellor who will guide you through the decision-making process. To book an appointment to see our Career Counsellors or to get more information by phone on 5316 7400 or email All TAFEs and universities have admissions officers and Career Counsellors so seek an appointment. It is also very helpful to attend tertiary expos and university open days. See QTAC's open days and expos page a list of tertiary events for the year ahead.

Questions to ask a careers counsellor:

  • How do I decide what’s next?
  • How do I decide what is the best pathway for me?
  • How can I find out where a degree will take me?
  • How can I best prepare myself for a successful transition to university?
  • How do I apply?
  • What does it cost? Are there schemes to help me pay fees? Are there scholarships available?
  • Where do I go for more information?

Experience university for yourself

Most universities will have a range of activities that the public can participate in such as open days and expos. Check their website if you can't make an open day or info session and have questions. You can usually call in to your local university to talk about what courses are on offer, phone or visit their website.

Entry programs and access schemes

Most universities have equity entry schemes for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. You can find out more and apply for these by completing the Educational Access Scheme section of your online QTAC tertiary application. Find out about more by visiting the QTAC website.

University entry schemes may offer a range of assistance including:

  • admissions boost by increasing your rank/OP   
  • bursaries or scholarships
  • free computers
  • printing allowances
  • free text books

To find out more go to the website of your preferred universities and SEARCH under Scholarships, and look for Equity Scholarships and Equity Bursaries.

What else do I need to know?

  • Find out about free career counselling
  • Explore this site’s career hub and online resources
  • Find out information on financial support for uni
  • Find out about upcoming events

Hear from current students

Find out about the experiences of other students who have undertaken a tertiary preparation program that has led to higher level vocational and university studies. Students from diverse backgrounds and educational experiences share their stories.

Financial support and scholarships

What is the cost of studying at university?

There are costs associated with study but there are also a range of support measures available to help you manage these costs. For example:

  • HECS-Help to defer payment of tuition fees
  • Centrelink assistance to help with living costs
  • Scholarships to assist with study costs

Find out more about the cost of uni and how students support themselves via Finances and Uni.

Tuition fees at university

The Commonwealth government pays the majority of the tuition fees for eligible Australian residents to study at university with students paying a contribution. As the costs are subject to change it is best for you check this out on the Study Assist website which includes a section on Fees, loans and scholarships for undergraduate students.

Your higher education provider determines the amount you contribute for each unit, within ranges set by the Australian Government.

The cost to you, which is called your student contribution, is based on one year of full time study in your chosen course. Your provider will be able to advise you of the EFTSL (equivalent full-time student load) value of the units prior to or at the time of enrolment. The table below provides a guide to these costs.

The Commonwealth Government provides the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) a number of schemes to assist students to pay for their contributions.

Eligible New Zealand citizens who hold a special category visa may be entitled to access HELP loans. For information about eligibility visit the Government Study Assist website.

Higher education providers are able to offer two types of places, to domestic students: Commonwealth supported places and fee paying places (usually for overseas students).

If you are not eligible for a Commonwealth supported place, you will pay full tuition fees which are not subsidised by the Australian Government.

Most students defer payment of their fee contribution through the HELP Schemes, until after they finish their studies. Visit the Study Assist website to find out about HECS-HELP and how it can support your future studies.

TAFE fees

Check with your local TAFE to find out about course fees. They can also advise on fee discounts to Centrelink benefit recipients and TAFE time-to-pay fee payment plans.

Adult Learner Encouragement Bursaries

QUT is offering an encouragement bursary to currently enrolled students in the Certificate IV in Adult Tertiary Preparation (ATP) at TAFE Queensland Brisbane Southbank campus and adult students doing Senior Studies at Coorparoo CCSE. Click here to find out if you are eligible and download the application form.

QUT Encouragement Scholarships for Caboolture students

There is a QUT Encouragement Scholarship for any ATP student enrolled at the TAFE Queensland Brisbane Caboolture campus. You pay for one unit and QUT will pay the other units for you, up to a maximum of 8 units. This funding is designed to help you on your pathway to diploma or degree studies, and is automatic at time of enrolment. For more information speak to admission staff at TAFE Queensland Brisbane Caboolture campus when enrolling.


Centrelink supports students with a range of payments such as:


As well as the HECS-Help scheme, there are a number of Commonwealth Government, University based, and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to eligible students to assist with the costs associated with undertaking higher education.

For information on Commonwealth Government university scholarships go to the Department of Human Services website (formerly Centrelink).
Also, universities run their own scholarships schemes for students based on a range of academic merit scholarships, equity scholarships (eg. low-income, Indigenous, rurality, gender), or other criteria (eg. community service, sporting achievement) so check out university websites for information on scholarships.

Aboriginal and Torres Stait Islander students should check the Indigenous Scholarships site for access to more than 300 scholarships for undergraduate study in Australia, and over 100 scholarships for postgraduate study both in Australia and overseas. Universities also provide Indigenoush scholarships, check individual university sites for details.

Also consider if organisations in your area offer scholarships and search online for businesses or organisations that offer scholarships. Start with the Study Assist and My Future websites.

The semester you are due to graduate from a Year 12 or tertiary preparation program is the time to apply for many of the equity scholarships if you are intending to go to university the following semester. Most universities offer equity scholarships to people whose financial circumstances may disadvantage them from undertaking and remaining in tertiary study.

Equity Scholarships

To find out about the equity scholarships offered by a university, go to their website and enter the word Scholarships into the SEARCH section at the top of the Home page, then look for equity scholarships that are listed or refine your SEARCH by entering the words Equity Scholarships.

Equity scholarship applications for new students are incorporated into the QTAC online application process under the category of Educational Assistance Scheme (EAS). So when completing your QTAC application , make sure you complete the section headed Educational Access Scheme (EAS) as the information you provide will be automatically assessed for eligibility for university equity scholarships as well as a possible boost in your entry rank (OP) and other study assistance .

Some universities (eg. Griffith University Uni-Start program) offer additional support to equity scholarship recipients, but require an additional direct application available on the equity scholarships section of their website.

After your first year of university study you can apply for an Equity Scholarship for the following year by applying direct to the Equity Section at your university. These applications are usually available as an online application on your uni’s website. In this way you could receive an equity scholarship for each year of your undergraduate study (Bachelor’s degree), based upon your financial circumstances.

Create your student budget

Your finances will be unique to your circumstances, but one thing is certain, during the 26 weeks each year that you attend classes you will have less time to earn an income. It is not recommended that full time students work more than 15 hrs/wk. Check with Human Services (Centrelink) to see if you are eligible for income assistance while you are studying. The other 26 wks/year when you are not attending classes is a good time to try to increase your income, and savings.

Once you have worked out your Centrelink entitlements, if any, it’s time to research and apply for all relevant scholarships by the closing dates (and yes you can receive more than one scholarship at a time). There are a wide range of scholarships available based on various criteria – low income, academic merit, gender, rurality, Indigenous, and many more. Search your uni website under scholarships, then make an effort to apply for those that are relevant.

You can then begin to map out your expenses and formulate a budget to ensure the money coming in will cover your living expenses. If there is a shortfall you will need to work on finding additional sources of income.

There are quite a lot of casual job opportunities available on university campuses for peer mentors, student ambassadors, research assistants, retail assistants and many more. The student association or student guild at your university will advertise a wide range of job vacancies, and the university website will also have a Careers section (from the Careers and Counselling area) with graduate and student jobs listed, and there will be a separate Jobs section on the site. You can also participate in some research projects as a survey participant and be paid a small amount ($20 to $50 for a few hours work). Other students are a great source of information on job vacancies, and often in fields you would never have thought of.

You can also try to trim your expenses. Students are often attracted to jobs that fit their study schedule, pay well and provide other cost saving benefits such as working on-campus to save travel time and cost, or working in a job where meals are provided, or where there is time to study (babysitting, security guard, late night orderly).

There are a number of expenses that may be reduced if you’re able to be flexible and think creatively. There are free and low cost services provided by the student guild, faculty, equity office, counselling and welfare offices, uni medical clinics (GPs, podiatry, optometry, psychology), secondhand bookshop, sporting facilities, markets etc. Also, check out and take advantage of student discounts offered by stores and service providers. Student Associations will often provide this information, or check websites, or just ask. Discounts often apply even if you are only enrolled as a part time student.

Attached are some sample student budgets to give you an idea of how to plan your own budget, and a blank budget for you to print out and use.

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