The Australian University Student Finances Survey has been undertaken since the mid-1970s on approximately a five yearly basis. It was previously conducted by the Commonwealth Government's department of education, however Universities Australia, then the AVCC, undertook the 2000 Paying their Way survey and the 2006 Australian University Student Finances survey independently of government support.
The aim of the project has been to gain quantitative data regarding the overall financial situation of domestic students, including:
- access to student income support (principally Youth Allowance / Austudy and Rent Assistance), and the amount received
- access to scholarships (merit or equity based)
- how much students earn from paid employment (and number of hours undertaken)
- the degree to which paid work affects studies (in particular for part-time)
- debt (including HECS, credit cards and personal loans)
- travel, childcare, and general study costs
- access to non-financial sources of support
- whether financial considerations influenced a student's choice of university, course, or mode of attendance (full-time or part-time)
The survey has traditionally focused on domestic undergraduate students, however the 2006 survey was extended to include analysis of postgraduate students and Indigenous students for the first time. The complete reports from the 2006 and 2000 surveys are available below.