If cancer has caused you financial hardship, you may be able to come to some arrangement regarding school fees if your children attend a non-government school, or it may be possible to delay (defer) repayment of your education debt. Special grants can help young people to continue their education.
Learn more about how to:
Fees are not compulsory in public schools, but it’s a good idea to contact the school to discuss payment of school contributions. Many private and independent schools are willing to make arrangements for parents who are experiencing unexpected hardship and are unable to pay school fees in the short term. Ask for written confirmation of any changes you negotiate.
As soon as you become aware that your financial situation has changed, get in touch with the school principal to discuss your options.
These may include:
- investigating scholarships or bursaries that cover school fees and other expenses
- negotiating a payment arrangement
- requesting a temporary suspension of your fees.
If you have a Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) or Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt and you are in financial difficulty, you can apply to defer your repayments or pay by instalments.
You will need to show that making the repayments at this time would cause you serious hardship (i.e. would leave you unable to provide food, accommodation, clothing, medical treatment, education or other necessities for you or your family) or that there are other special reasons. The ATO may also ask you to provide details of your income and expenses, and a copy of your most recent pay slip.
→ To defer your HECS/HELP repayments, complete the application form (call 1300 650 225 or visit ato.gov.au), and return it to the ATO. If your application is successful, you won’t need to make any repayments until the next financial year. If you want to defer your repayments for another year, you will need to reapply.
Young people affected by cancer may be able to access special grants to help them apply for tertiary study.
→ Organisations that offer grants include:
- Redkite provides grants to young people aged up to 24 years, visit redkite.org.au
- Ronald McDonald House Charities offers the Charlie Bell Scholarship program to young people aged 15–20, visit rmhc.org.au/our-programs/charlie-bell-scholarship
- Carers Australia provides the Young Carer Bursary Program to young people aged 12–25, visit youngcarersnetwork.com.au/bursary.
Keith Manchester, Senior Legal Counsel, Financial Services Legal, AMP, NSW; Alka Bisen, Financial Counsellor and Project Coordinator – Financial Assistance Services, Cancer Council NSW; Patricia Dunn, Consumer; Emily Gibson, Social Worker, Mater Hospital Brisbane, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Michelle Ruchin, Social Worker, Cancer Council SA; Robert Simon, Technical Services Manager, Tapln and Technical Strategy, AMP Advice, NSW; Krystyna Wisniewski, Consumer.
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