Balancing the budget - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Balancing the budget

15 Apr 2016

by Denise French, USC parent

These never ending sunny days that hold a tight grip on summer remind me of when I thought school lunchboxes, permission notes and play dates would last forever. Inevitably we've moved on to P plates, gym memberships and budgeting time for work rosters, study schedules and social lives. Like all budgets, sometimes they balance and other times they bomb - but I'm reconciled to manning the safety net these days rather than fine tuning the details.

Post-school, parents can struggle to recognise just what their student really wants or needs from them, apart from simply being there. Often that is enough! USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill was quick to acknowledge the part parents play in supporting their students when addressing the graduation ceremonies to a packed auditorium of graduands and families earlier this month.

I was lucky enough to be graduating myself, and it was nice to catch up with former classmates and pay tribute to the part my family has played in supporting my studies over the past six years. There have been times I've hunkered down at the computer with 'Do not Disturb' signs invisibly hung out, missed meals, ignored the housework and turned down invitations. They didn't grumble much and hopefully they even shared the pride, just a little bit, which comes from the achievement we have all gained.

Regardless of age, one thing all students share is the cost of study.

Whether your student pays as they go or applies to HECS-HELP, finances can make or break that all-important graduation certificate. Last month I mentioned that staying afloat financially comes down to three main sources:

Centrelink, scholarships and employment.

Scholarships are available to a surprisingly wide student demographic - and you'd be surprised how many they can apply for. Your student could be eligible to apply because of where they live, went to school, what subjects they select, financial need, gender and culture, their interests and age. Check out the scholarships page on the USC website for closing dates and criteria. Two of my students were fortunate to get scholarships and that money made a huge difference to their ability to focus on their studies.

As for the job market - we'll catch up on that next time. In the meantime, give yourself some credit for achieving Parenting 101...thankless but priceless in its rewards.

About the author:

Denise French is a parent of four (two graduates and two current students), her children have studied at both USC and other universities. Denise is has also recently graduated from USC with a Masters in Communication.

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