If you are looking to boost your earning potential, transition into a new position, or increase your range of capabilities in your current one, then pursuing further education is the ideal option to do so. And for engineers, this may be even truer than for many other professions. The problem is the costs. Course fees are notoriously expensive, riddled with associated fees, and many extended financial difficulties, such as the added pressure on living expenses for those electing to study full-time (and therefore cannot generate full-time earnings). Unless you have been fortunate enough to be granted a scholarship, you will need to consider how best to fund your engineering degree. In this article, we explore some key options available to help make the right decision for you.
Engineering Student Loans
The most popular way to fund your further education is by sourcing financing from external institutions. Engineering student loans are available in a variety of forms, which can make it difficult to select the one that will work best for you. When considering a loan, first understand how much you want to borrow, how you would like to manage your education debt, and whether your chosen lending partner works alongside your place of enrolment. Together, this information will best prepare you for what you are signing up to over a prolonged period, and once compiled, you can begin to review the two most common forms of financing: private or federal loans.
Private Engineering Student Loans
Private loans are available from independent organizations such as banks, lending services, and credit unions. As this is an open marketplace, these loans will vary across each offering, so it is important that you do your research to find the right engineering student loans for you. There are, however, certain attributes you should look for in a provider. Firstly, ensure they establish pricing on a risk-based model to show they take into consideration your position in life and financial history. They also should work on a responsible, pay-as-you-go funding model, which makes available your funds only as you progress through your educational courses, and even protecting you from further payments should you wish to suspend your courses. Lastly, you want a provider that has clear, and easy-to-understand terms and conditions, as well as key partnerships with educational organizations, to make the process even easier.
You may also consider obtaining your financing from federal loans, such as HECS-HELP, SA-HELP, OS-HELPand FEE-HELP. These are attractive to many Australians as the federal government works directly with universities and other educational organizations to quickly cover the finances with little stress. A discount is also available if you pay a certain amount upfront to show goodwill and commitment to completing the courses you have signed up to. And you won’t even have to start paying back the loan until you start earning over a certain amount in the financial year.
What many people don’t like is how this loan is always looming in the background, reappearing at tax time and either taking a sizeable chunk out of your potential refund or leaving you with a tax bill much higher than expected. This can last for decades to come, which is why it is important to do your research and ascertain whether this is the right course of action for you to fund your degree.