While it will hurt your hip pocket, the right degree could also set you on the path to your dream job.
Here are a few things to consider:
"There's many things you have to pay for on top of the books," says Miles Larbey, from ASIC's MoneySmart program. "Consider all the different elements … rent, mobile phone, utilities, transport, food." He suggests using ASIC's free budget planner.
"Moving out of home is one of the biggest burdens and for some students it's a necessity," says Gary Newman, founder of UNI101.com.au. If you want to live on campus, some residential colleges offer scholarships. Programs such as Wesley Mission's Homeshare Services advertise free accommodation for students willing to help out an elderly person.
Consider taking the "required" reading list with a grain of salt, and wait until the first class to ask tutors which resources you really need, suggests Newman.
Or check student noticeboards, online forums for used books or study equipment.
Get a job
A part-time job is a winner, but don't overdo it, warns Newman.
"Once you start exceeding around 20 hours a week, research shows marks tend to slide."
Scour tertiary admission centre and university websites, and don't be afraid to phone university scholarship offices, says Newman. "Most people don't apply because they either don't know about them or don't think they're worthy."
Still the cheapest loan you'll get in your life (apart from the Bank of Mum and Dad perhaps), but don't forget you'll have to pay it back.
"It's well established that uni graduates earn more on average than those who never went, but don't be fooled into thinking more study and qualifications automatically means a better wage at the end of it all," says Newman.
This article was originally published by the Sydney Morning Herald on 18 September 2015. This article represents the views of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the views of AMP.