Breanna's Story

Breanna has overcome some big challenges in her early life; as a teen she experienced complete hair loss through Alopecia, teen pregnancy and then finished her HSC while also beginning her new life as a mother.

She did it by being resilient, believing in herself and having a supportive family, friends and school.

Now she is a Stellar Ambassador and full time uni-student; inspiring school students to chase their dreams and take up opportunities as they come.

What inspired you when you feared you might fail:

“I met a woman who was studying at uni full time, she also worked and was a mother of three. I thought, if she can do it, then so can I. She was my inspiration!


How is uni paid for?

There are university course fees, but education is a very good investment.

A person with a bachelor degree can earn almost 1.8 times more money over a lifetime than a person who stops studying in Y11 or earlier.

When you attend university or an approved higher education provider, you can get a HECS-HELP loan to pay for your studies from the Government. A HECS-HELP loan allows you to pay off your course fees gradually once you start to receive a certain level of income.

Get more information here: Study Assist Website

Is financial assistance available?

Scholarships. It’s true, not every one is given one, but you’ve got to be in it to win it. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why not apply?

Financial support for regional families. The Clarence Valley is a regional area, so you may be eligible for bonus financial support, away from home allowances, relocation assistance, scholarships and fare allowances, on top of regular Centrelink support.

Get more information here: Study Assist Website

There are scholarships for everyone.

You don’t need to be the smartest person in your school or the most athletic. Here is a brief list of the types of groups scholarships might target…

· Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
· Academically Exceptional
· Athletically Elite
· Financial Disadvantage
· Institutional (for a specific University)
· Non-English Speaking Background
· Physical, Medical or Psychological Disability
· Regional/Rural and Isolated area resident
· Students who want to study non-traditional careers paths (eg Men who want to study nursing, Women who want to study Engineering)

Remember- any experience you can get while you’re still at school, will help build an awesome portfolio to include in scholarship applications. If there is a community event you can get involved in, volunteer or be part of an existing school activity or even part time work that shows you have initiative and drive. These will be major contributors not only for scholarships, but any other special considerations or programs that may come up in your future.

If you’re in Year 12, the type of scholarship you will be looking for is an ‘undergraduate’ scholarship.

Here are some other websites that are useful when looking for scholarships:
· Australian Government Education and Training
· Australian Universities
· Indigenous Scholarships
· Make Your Mark: Scholarships
· Country Education Forum – CEF
· The Good Universities Guide


With the independence of university comes responsibility, especially the need to organise your cash flow. Most students find ways to reduce the costs of study. For example:

  • University study is often very flexible allowing many students to take up part time employment
  • Sharing housing/ living costs with other students makes living costs much cheaper.
  • Living expenses in regional Australia are often lower than in a city, but there are often more work opportunities in the city, which can help buffer the extra costs, if you do decide to move.

Check out what you’re eligible for here:

 Australian students will either enter university as a fee-paying student or a Commonwealth supported student. Most students will aim to attend university under the commonwealth supported placement. It’s the cheaper option of two.

 Commonwealth Supported Places:

A Commonwealth supported place is subsidised by the Government so that students are only required to pay a ‘student contribution’ amount rather than tuition fees. So, the federal government pays part of the cost and the student pays the rest of the tuition fees later. Most students will apply for a HECS-HELP loan to do this.


EVERYONE uses the ‘poor uni student’ label at some stage throughout their university career!
But, if you know how to manage your money there is really no need for stocking up on two-minute noodles. It is possible to eat well. I am lucky enough to have worked ever since I’ve been old enough, and still work at Coles during my uni holidays. With my hard-earned savings and a little bit of help from Centrelink, I’ve never had to ask my parents for a single cent! The cost of tuition can all go onto HECS-HELP – and that’s the most expensive part taken care of!” Tegan

Grafton Local & University Student