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Education loans Australia

Investing in your education can be a smart money move.

But with some post-graduate courses costing up to $50,000, it’s certainly not a small investment.

Particularly at a time when you may not be earning as much.

And if you’re considering private school for your kids, you don’t need me to tell you how expensive that is.

This guide to education loans will explain your options and how to make sure you don’t pay any more than you need to.

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How do education loans work?

How do education loans work?

Education loans are a type of personal loan you can use to pay for the cost of studying or private school fees.

Generally this is what you get with an education loan:

  • Borrow between $2,000 to $100,000 (our personal loan statistics show the average loan is just over $22,000).
  • And repay it over a term between 1 and 7 years.
  • You’ll make regular repayments — weekly, fortnightly or monthly — during the term.
  • Education loans are generally unsecured personal loans, meaning you don’t need to provide an asset you own as collateral. But there can be secured options available.
  • The interest rate on your personal loan will depend on your credit score and other factors specific to you.
  • Your interest rate can either be fixed or variable.
What can I use an education loan for?

What can I use an education loan for?

Typically you can use the money for anything related to your studies.

Most students use education loans to pay for things like:

  • Admission fees
  • Course/tuition fees
  • Textbooks, laptops, course-related purchases
  • Accommodation and living costs
  • Travel costs

How to choose an education loan

Just like deciding on a course, choosing a loan is a major decision.

When you’re comparing your options, you’ll want to look at more than just how much you can borrow.

This includes:

Interest rates

How much extra you’ll pay on the amount you’ll borrow.

Fees

Upfront and ongoing charges (you may be able to avoid fees completely on some loans).

Loan term

A short loan term means higher repayments, but you’ll pay less interest compared to a longer term (you can see the difference by trying different loan terms in our personal loan calculator).

Features

Like being able to make extra repayments and pay off the loan early without penalty. A redraw facility can be handy too as it allows you to withdraw your extra repayments if you need to access cash.

Best education loan interest rate comparison

Compare a selection of personal loan interest rates in Australia, with ranges based on the borrower's credit score and other factors. As you can see, the difference between a lender’s lowest and highest rate can be massive. This is why it's important to get personalised quotes from multiple lenders. The table is sorted by lowest comparison rate.

Harmoney

Personal loan interest rate

5.76% p.a. to 24.03% p.a.

Comparison rate*

6.55% p.a. to 24.98% p.a.

Plenti

Personal loan interest rate

6.57% p.a. to 24.09% p.a.

Comparison rate*

6.57% p.a. to 26.28% p.a.

NOW Finance

Personal loan interest rate

6.75% p.a. to 26.95% p.a.

Comparison rate*

6.75% p.a. to 26.95% p.a.

Pepper Money

Personal loan interest rate

6.75% p.a. to 26.95% p.a.

Comparison rate*

6.75% p.a. to 26.95% p.a.

ING

Personal loan interest rate

6.89% p.a. to 18.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

7.10% p.a. to 19.23% p.a.

Our Money Market

Personal loan interest rate

6.57% p.a. to 18.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

7.19% p.a. to 21.78% p.a.

Moneyplace

Personal loan interest rate

7.24% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

7.24% p.a. to 21.49% p.a.

Liberty Financial

Personal loan interest rate

7.24% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

7.24% p.a. to 21.49% p.a.

Bank of Melbourne

Personal loan interest rate

6.89% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

7.59% p.a. to 20.59% p.a. (variable rate): 7.81% p.a. to 20.83% p.a. (fixed rate)

BankSA

Personal loan interest rate

6.89% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

7.59% p.a. to 20.59% p.a. (variable rate): 7.81% p.a. to 20.83% p.a. (fixed rate)

St.George Bank

Personal loan interest rate

6.89% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

7.59% p.a. to 20.59% p.a. (variable rate): 7.81% p.a. to 20.83% p.a. (fixed rate)

Great Southern Bank

Personal loan interest rate

7.49% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

7.74 % p.a. to 20.27% p.a.

NAB

Personal loan interest rate

6.99% p.a. to 20.49% p.a.

Comparison rate*

7.91% p.a. to 21.33% p.a.

ANZ

Personal loan interest rate

7.49% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

8.18% p.a. to 20.58% p.a.

G&C Mutual Bank

Personal loan interest rate

7.99% p.a. to 16.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

8.20% p.a. to 17.22% p.a.

Society One

Personal loan interest rate

8.20% p.a. to 24.89% p.a.

Comparison rate*

8.27% p.a. to 25.64% p.a.

Westpac

Personal loan interest rate

7.99% p.a. to 20.49% p.a.

Comparison rate*

9.18% p.a. to 21.61% p.a.

Wisr

Personal loan interest rate

9.04% p.a. to 23.79% p.a.

Comparison rate*

9.88% p.a. to 24.56% p.a.

Commbank

Personal loan interest rate

8.49% p.a. to 20.49% p.a. (fixed); 8.00% p.a. to 20.00% p.a. (variable)

Comparison rate*

9.88% p.a. to 21.78% p.a. (fixed); 9.40% p.a. to 21.30% p.a. (variable)

MoneyMe

Personal loan interest rate

9.20% p.a. to 25.20% p.a.

Comparison rate*

10.58% p.a. to 26.58% p.a.

Latitude Financial

Personal loan interest rate

9.49% p.a. to 29.99% p.a.

Comparison rate*

10.93% p.a. to 31.83% p.a

Fair Go Finance

Personal loan interest rate

21.90% p.a. to 25.90%

Comparison rate*

27.54% p.a. to 33.80% p.a.

Jacaranda Finance

Personal loan interest rate

17.95% p.a. to 24.95% p.a.

Comparison rate*

32.40% p.a. to 39.63% p.a.

Personal loan interest rateComparison rate*

Harmoney

5.76% p.a. to 24.03% p.a.

6.55% p.a. to 24.98% p.a.

Plenti

6.57% p.a. to 24.09% p.a.

6.57% p.a. to 26.28% p.a.

NOW Finance

6.75% p.a. to 26.95% p.a.

6.75% p.a. to 26.95% p.a.

Pepper Money

6.75% p.a. to 26.95% p.a.

6.75% p.a. to 26.95% p.a.

ING

6.89% p.a. to 18.99% p.a.

7.10% p.a. to 19.23% p.a.

Our Money Market

6.57% p.a. to 18.99% p.a.

7.19% p.a. to 21.78% p.a.

Moneyplace

7.24% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

7.24% p.a. to 21.49% p.a.

Liberty Financial

7.24% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

7.24% p.a. to 21.49% p.a.

Bank of Melbourne

6.89% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

7.59% p.a. to 20.59% p.a. (variable rate): 7.81% p.a. to 20.83% p.a. (fixed rate)

BankSA

6.89% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

7.59% p.a. to 20.59% p.a. (variable rate): 7.81% p.a. to 20.83% p.a. (fixed rate)

St.George Bank

6.89% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

7.59% p.a. to 20.59% p.a. (variable rate): 7.81% p.a. to 20.83% p.a. (fixed rate)

Great Southern Bank

7.49% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

7.74 % p.a. to 20.27% p.a.

NAB

6.99% p.a. to 20.49% p.a.

7.91% p.a. to 21.33% p.a.

ANZ

7.49% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.

8.18% p.a. to 20.58% p.a.

G&C Mutual Bank

7.99% p.a. to 16.99% p.a.

8.20% p.a. to 17.22% p.a.

Society One

8.20% p.a. to 24.89% p.a.

8.27% p.a. to 25.64% p.a.

Westpac

7.99% p.a. to 20.49% p.a.

9.18% p.a. to 21.61% p.a.

Wisr

9.04% p.a. to 23.79% p.a.

9.88% p.a. to 24.56% p.a.

Commbank

8.49% p.a. to 20.49% p.a. (fixed); 8.00% p.a. to 20.00% p.a. (variable)

9.88% p.a. to 21.78% p.a. (fixed); 9.40% p.a. to 21.30% p.a. (variable)

MoneyMe

9.20% p.a. to 25.20% p.a.

10.58% p.a. to 26.58% p.a.

Latitude Financial

9.49% p.a. to 29.99% p.a.

10.93% p.a. to 31.83% p.a

Fair Go Finance

21.90% p.a. to 25.90%

27.54% p.a. to 33.80% p.a.

Jacaranda Finance

17.95% p.a. to 24.95% p.a.

32.40% p.a. to 39.63% p.a.

Personal loan interest rate comparison based on products analysed by Money.com.au advertising a high and low interest rate range. Rates are current as of 4 December 2023. Check with the provider for full current loan details, including rates, fees, eligibility and terms and conditions. While this is an extensive list of personal loans available in Australia, not all loans in the market are shown. This list is for reference only and does not reflect the selection of loans you may see if you get a personalised quote through Money.com.au.

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How to qualify for an education loan

How to qualify for an education loan

You can apply for a loan for education in Australia if you are:

  • Over the age of 18; and
  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident; and
  • Employed or have a regular source of income to cover the repayments

If you meet these initial eligibility criteria for an education loan, the lender will still need to assess your application based on your financial situation.

They do this to ensure the loan isn’t unsuitable for you and you can easily meet the repayments.

Lender usually consider:

  • Your credit score
  • Your income
  • Your employment status (full-time, self-employed etc.)
  • Assets you own
  • Your regular expenses
  • Your other debts (e.g credit cards)
  • How many dependents you have
How to apply for an education loan

How to apply for an education loan

To get an education expenses loan you will need to:

  • Submit a personal loan application to a lender
  • Meet the approval criteria for the personal loan
  • Provide documents requested by the lender to prove your identity and financial details (e.g. payslips, bank statements, credit card and loan statements)
  • If you can’t supply the standard documents (e.g. you’re self-employed) you could consider applying for a low doc personal loan.

Pros and cons of education loans

Pros

  • May enable you to pursue study that would be otherwise out of reach.
  • You may have the flexibility to structure your loan term to keep loan repayments low while you’re studying but pay extra when you’re finished.
  • Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim your education loan costs (e.g. interest) as a tax deduction (according to the ATO).

Cons

  • Interest and fees on your education loan will add to the overall cost of your study.
  • If you choose a long loan term you could be repaying the finance long after you’ve finished your study.
  • Due to the eligibility criteria, it may not be suitable if you won’t be earning while you are studying.

Can I get help from the Government?

Before you apply for an education loan, make sure you check if you’re eligible for any government or other financial assistance.

Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

The government offers a number of different interest-free loan schemes for eligible students enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place at university.

There are loans that can be used for both tuition fees and living costs, including OS-HELP, which can be used to fund overseas study.

VET Student Loans

This program helps eligible students pay tuition fees for approved higher-level vocational education and training (VET) courses. To be eligible for a VET Student Loan you must be studying at a VET Student Loans approved course provider.

Government student assistance

Government assistance programs are available for eligible students, offering regular cash payments that do not have to be repaid.

Scholarships

Most universities offer scholarships that can cover part or all of your study costs.

These are usually available for students in their first year of study right through to the postgraduate level.

Education Loan FAQs

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To be eligible for an education loan (personal loan) you generally need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

This will likely rule out many overseas students.

The cost of your education loan will depend entirely on how much you borrow, how long you take to repay it and the loan’s interest rate and fees.

To help keep your costs low, you may be able to refinance your loan to a lower rate if a better deal is available.

You may be able to get an educational loan if you have bad credit but you’ll likely be charged higher interest rates and fees.

You may be more likely to be approved by a lender who specialises in bad credit loans.

If you meet the lender’s minimum credit criteria you may be able to get an educational expenses loan even if you’re already getting government assistance.

Shopping around for the right loan can save you thousands of dollars in interest and fees.

Personal Loans guides and resources

The great thing about personal loans is they can fund almost anything. They are perfect when you need that bit extra to cover expenses, start a project or reset your finances to get back on track.

Written by

Shaun McGowan Money.com.au founder

Loans Expert

Shaun McGowan

Reviewed by

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Editor

Sean Callery

AS FEATURED IN

*Information about comparison rates Comparison rates are designed to allow borrowers to understand the true cost of a loan by taking into account fees and charges, the loan amount and the term of the loan. The comparison rate is based on an unsecured fixed rate personal loan of $10,000 over 3 years. WARNING: Comparison rates are true only for the examples provided and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

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