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What are the costs of study at SMBC?
There are four components to consider:
- Australian College of Theology (ACT) course tuition costs.
- SMBC Certificate in Bible and Mission (CBM) program costs: This is for full-time students in the CBM program only (Note: this cost cannot be put against FEE-HELP). This fee includes CBM tuition costs + SMBC service fee + lunch Monday-Friday during semester time.
- Accommodation costs: Residential accommodation includes most meals, utility costs, Wi-Fi, etc. When making the comparison with living off campus, include the cost and time it takes to travel to and from college. (Note: Accommodation fees can be paid on a monthly basis via direct-debit)
- General living costs: This could include mobile phone, clothes, toiletries, extra food, local travel and maybe holidays, money for books, printing and computer costs. If you have a car, then costs of the vehicle need to be included.
When planning a course of study, it is important to be aware that all costs are subject to an annual review. Fees for the following year are usually available from August each year and may rise by at least the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The Australian College of Theology (ACT) set course fees for the Diploma, Bachelor, and Master degree awards. SMBC sets Award and accommodation fees.
Please carefully consider your financial status when planning your study at SMBC, as refunds may not be made after the commencement of the College year, except in very exceptional circumstances. It is important to be very aware of the Administration Date and Census Date for each unit enrolled. This information is listed in the SMBC College Calendar. For further information about the Administration Date and Census Date, please contact our registrars here.
Financing your studies
How do students finance their studies? There are many ways this happens, but here are a few:
1. Using Government support programs: (note that these will not cover all your costs of study and living)
- FEE-HELP - this is a government loan scheme that applies to the tuition costs of ACT units. If you are an Australian citizen (or hold a permanent humanitarian visa and will be resident in Australia for the duration of the unit of study) you are most likely eligible to use FEE-HELP. You can choose to put some units on FEE-HELP and some units by UPFRONT payment. Check www.studyassist.gov.au for details and conditions. (Note: If you enrol in an undergraduate course, FEE-HELP has a 25 per cent loan fee which is added to the FEE-HELP debt)
*Lower Student Loan Fee: In ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Higher Education relief package, the Australian federal government is continuing its exemption from FEE-HELP's 25% loan fee till 30 June 2021.
- Study Allowances through Centrelink - this may provide eligible full-time students with payments to assist with living costs (including rent) during your time of study. For further details about who is eligible for financial assistance, please visit the Centrelink website. The following ACT courses that we offer may be eligible for Centrelink payments: Diploma of Ministry, Diploma of Theology, Associate Degree of Ministry, Bachelor of Ministry, Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Theology/Bachelor of Ministry, Bachelor of Theology (Honours), Graduate Diploma of Divinity, Master of Divinity, Master of Divinity/Graduate Diploma of Divinity
- Family Allowance – for families.
- Transport Concession – NSW government offers full-time students public transport concessions.
2. Savings: Some full-time students will use their savings to enable them to pay for their full-time study. Part-time students will often work as well as use some savings.
3. Work: Because of the extra CBM commitments of full-time study at SMBC, there are very limited opportunities during the week for work (lecture and CBM commitments are spread across Monday to Friday, including some evenings). Many students do work during the breaks between semesters and some will get ministry positions in their church. There are very limited options for employment at SMBC. It’s important to ensure that your studies take precedence over your work/ministry.
4. Partnership support: Some students will have family (maybe the spouse will work, or parents will pay a proportion of costs) who will support the study and/or living costs while they study. It is also a great idea to begin building a partnership prayer/support team – from family, church and friends – who will support you in this study venture. Remember, Bible College is a place of spiritual development and it is wise to have people praying and supporting you through this time – whether you are full-time or part-time.
5. Simplifying lifestyle: Some students find by simplifying their lifestyle, that their cost of living can be reduced which makes things more manageable on a decreased income.
6. Scholarships: Very limited funds are available to assist overseas students with their theological studies at SMBC. A pre-requisite for all requests for scholarship funds is that your application for full-time study at SMBC has been accepted. Currently, funds are potentially available for New Zealand students. All other scholarship funds are already committed.
If you have concerns or questions about financing your studies, please contact our registrars here