Balancing the student budget | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Balancing the student budget

Balancing the budget is a concern for every new uni student. If you're supporting your child, partner or friend as they make the transition to student life, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to help them have a great university experience – without the budget stress.


Scholarships can give students the freedom to cut back on paid work and focus on their studies. While some universities require students to submit an application for each individual scholarship, USC has one online application form for most of its scholarships. Scholarships are offered not just for academic performance, but also for financial hardship, sporting achievement or community involvement. New students can complete a scholarship application before they receive an offer from USC – they just need their QTAC Application number. An hour or two spent submitting an application could result in receiving a few hundred, or even thousands of dollars towards study costs!


One of the greatest expenses outside of course fees can be for textbooks. Depending on the study area, students may be up for a few hundred dollars to purchase all their course readers and textbooks. However, some courses may not require any.

There are many ways students can save on their textbook costs. USC’s Student Guild runs a second-hand textbook hub which allows students to not only purchase textbooks but to sell their books at the end of the semester. There are also online second-hand book sellers such as Student VIP which facilitate sales of books not only for USC students, but those from other unis as well.

Students not in their first semester of study can apply for a Co-op Bookshop textbook bursary for up to $500 to help with their textbook costs.


Many students make the mistake of spending a large chunk of their money on takeaway and eating out, especially now with the ease of food delivery services. Preparing simple, healthy meals at home can save heaps of money. USC has produced a FREE cookbook and healthy eating guide for students, Recipes for Success: Wellbeing and healthy eating on a budget, which can be downloaded online and includes lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options. If buying food on campus, make sure your child or partner shows their student ID card to receive a discount.


Your child’s USC student ID card is one of the best ways they can save money. Most entertainment establishments such as movie theatres offer student discounts, as well as deductions at fitness facilities. It also doesn’t hurt to ask at general retailers if they provide special student deals too.

If your child is a full-time student and is catching public transport, a concession card will help save money on their fares. They will need to purchase an adult go card and then apply for concession fares through the Translink website. In addition, USC provides a free shuttle bus to students travelling from Gympie, North Lakes or Caboolture to USC Sunshine Coast during teaching weeks.

If your child wants to save further cash and get fit at the same time, then they should consider cycling to uni. USC Sunshine Coast has a dedicated bike hub with a CCTV-camera-monitored bike storage area and shower facilities.

Uni Club and USC Student Guild

Uni Club is USC’s social hub on campus and provides free facilities for students, including a kitchen, recreation activities and sporting equipment. The Uni Club is also the home of USC’s Student Guild, a not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of support and social services to make student life at USC as enjoyable as possible. Available services include:

  • recreational activities and events, most of which are free, or very cost effective
  • an emergency food bank where students can access free food supplies
  • free workshops on budgeting
  • clubs and societies
  • second-hand textbook hub
  • student advocacy and support
  • discounted haircuts
  • free legal advice
  • JP service

If a new student is experiencing financial stress, Student Central – USC’s first point of contact for all things student related – can help connect them with support and advice. Helping to develop these skills now will set the new student in your life up for the best possible success in future.