Study to learn, not earn

Studying later in life gives you the opportunity to learn for pleasure, not career advancement.  

Whether you’re returning to study or studying for the very first time, having more time on your hands in retirement offers a great opportunity to learn something new.

 Figures from May 2016 show 2.7% of people aged between 55 and 64 were undertaking some form of study.1 If you’re considering joining their ranks but don’t know where to start, read on for some information about why and where to study, and importantly, about how much it might cost you.

Why study?

There are numerous reasons people might decide to study later in life, such as:

  • to learn about a subject that has always interested them
  • to keep their minds active and engaged
  • to reskill for a new phase of working life in part-time or volunteer work.

Benefits of studying

It can provide a number of benefits, including:

  • remaining socially active
  • mixing with younger people and making new friends across a range of ages
  • keeping up with technological change.

Where and how to study

There are a number of options of where and how to study, including:

  • University of the Third Age (U3A), which is targeted specifically at seniors, and offers low-cost online or face-to-face learning through a range of both short and longer-term courses.
  • Community colleges are not-for-profit education providers that generally focus on short courses, across a range of areas such as business and the arts as well as more hands-on subjects like cookery, painting or carpentry.
  • TAFEs offer a range of formal qualifications, such as certificates and diplomas, which typically prepare students for a particular vocation and take between one to three years to complete.
  • Traditional universities offer undergraduate and post-graduate degrees focused on research-based areas of learning, and which usually take three or more years, full-time, to complete.
  • Online universities offer a range of courses from traditional universities for those students who are unable to travel to attend classes.

What will it cost?

While most short courses through community organisations are relatively inexpensive, traditional university courses cost more. The total cost will depend on several factors, such as whether you’re studying at a public or private university, what you’re studying and for how many years.

In some instances, you may be eligible for government assistance with your university fees through government schemes such as FEE-HELP, or Austudy assistance through Centrelink.

In addition to course fees, there may be other costs associated with studying, such as transport, books or course materials. To help with budgeting for these costs check out our budget planner, or learn more about managing your money in retirement.

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© AMP Life Limited. This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.