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Tertiary education students have three main sources of financial support – their families, the labour market and government payments. This paper explores how COVID-19 affected these sources of student finance. Only limited information is available on family finances, but multiple datasets provide insight into the student labour market and government payments. Initial hardship caused by job loss and reduced hours was followed by an exceptionally good period for domestic student finances, driven by government payments and increased labour market income.
For international students, the lack of government support in 2020 meant that the hardship phase lasted longer. International students remaining in Australia, however, shared in the labour market recovery and, from mid-2021, government assistance.