Perspectives on higher education payments from students in Australia

Students in Australia value advice from institutions, agents on how to pay their tuition.

Higher education students in Australia want guidance on payment options from their institutions and education agents, as early as when they receive offer letters, and are interested in easing the process of making other education-related payments, such as health insurance.

Flywire commissioned the research to explore the attitudes and experience of 1,800+ students from nine countries around the world, including 200 from Australia, about pursuing and paying for their higher education. Students in Australia place high value on guidance through the payment process (92%) – higher than any other country surveyed – and want to know whether they’ll have the option to pay in installments when they get the offer letter (79%).

Below are some of the key findings about the higher education student experience for students in Australia.

Higher education affordability is a significant stressor for students in Australia, and students want to pay in installments.

  • 83% of students in Australia say they need help affording their education–trailing only the U.K. (85%) and India (84%), and just above the U.S. (80%) and Canada (82%).
  • For many (75%) the process of paying for their higher education is a significant source of stress for themselves and their family, and most attribute this primarily to financial difficulties (44%).
  • Over a third have considered taking time off of school because of global economic events, and one in four have considered switching to a part-time program.
  • When it comes to addressing this issue, more than 8 in 10 students in Australia say the ability to pay for their education in installments would help make it more affordable. Fortunately, 6 out of 10 of those students say their institution provides them with the ability to set up installment payments.

They want a simplified payment process for all education-related payments.

  • Students in Australia, along with students from the U.S., are the most likely to say that it can be confusing to pay for their education (87%).
  • 89% say having access to a simplified payment process would improve their higher education experience. Over half (54%) think it would make the payment process less stressful. Other anticipated benefits included increased convenience (49%), speed (46%) and knowing exactly how (44%) and where (43%) to pay.
  • 48% would also like to pay for other student fees and/or expenses via a payment provider – with the highest interest in finding and paying for health insurance (33%).

Students in Australia fund their education with loans, often worry about the future

  • 72% of the students have taken a loan to fund their education — higher than every other country except the U.K.—and 22 and 23 percentage points higher than Canada and the U.S. respectively. Almost half (47%) of the loans come from the Australian national government.
  • They worry that these loans will prevent them from saving for a home (63%), traveling (45%) and/or continuing with their education (30%).

Students are most likely to pay by debit card, but want support for digital wallet options

  • They are among the most likely (along with the U.K.) to pay their tuition with debit cards (28%). The other most common payment methods include bank transfer/eCheck from bank (21%) and credit card (14%).
  • This differs from how they would prefer to pay. They’d like to pay by: transfer/eCheck from bank (26%), PayPal (23%), debit card (13%) and credit card (11%).
  • Their payment decisions are driven by multiple factors: it being the easiest of options (37%), convenience (30%), their school suggesting it (24%), and it being the most secure (20%).

Education overseas is popular with students from Australia

  • 92% of all students surveyed in Australia feel international study is a great way to round out their educational experience – and 90% say countries should make it easier to do so.
  • More students in Australia are either currently studying abroad (20%), or have in the past (9%), than every other country surveyed except China.
  • Their top drivers are better educational value (33%), cultural experience (33%), academic reputation (31%).
Australian College Student on Campus

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