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Interest-free loans for growing back-to-school costs


A growing number of Australians are expected to seek interest-free loans to help cover the costs of going back to school.

NAB expects to support more than $450,000 in interest-free education loans in February to help cover the cost of school essentials, more than double the amount provided before the pandemic.

The total amount of money for education loans, which is used to pay for uniforms, books, stationery and computers, has increased by more than 130% between 2018 and 2022.

NAB Head of Consumer Vulnerability, Mike Chambers, said the start of the new school year was a particularly stressful time for some parents.

January is often when the full impact of Christmas expenses hits and on top of that, parents are also faced with a list of school expenses that need to be met quickly, Mr Chambers said.

During the pandemic, we saw an increase in interest-free loans to help meet the need for laptops and distance learning software.

With the cost of living on the rise, we expect to see even more low-income families seeking out interest-free loans to help manage school costs.

Since 2018, NAB has supported over 17,000 Austrians with $19.7 million in interest-free loans for school essentials.

Loans for education expenses accounted for about 13% of all interest-free loans in 2022, peaking in February. The average education loan was $1,150.

About 85% of all education loans are granted in NSW, VIC and QLD.

Single mother-of-three Lynda Birch said getting a $500 loan for her daughters’ Year 12 textbooks made the costs much easier.

I don’t know what I would have done if I had to find that money myself right then and there, she said.

My youngest sons birthday is just before Christmas so you are buying presents for that, Christmas presents and then suddenly you have to pay for school books.

Image of a woman with two children together, smiling.
Single mother of three Lynda Birch took out a $500 interest-free loan to buy school books for her teenage daughter.

She encouraged others to investigate what kind of support is available for school expenses.

Anything that can make your life a little easier is definitely worth a try, Ms Birch said.

Mr Chambers said NAB had co-operated with him the good shepherd for 20 years and was the only major bank to offer a program that supported low-income Australians to get interest-free loans.

Often, when faced with financial pressures, people can panic and look for quick fixes, such as payday loans, he said.

It is important for anyone experiencing financial difficulties to know that there is help available, whether this is through NAB or organizations such as Good Shepherd.

Good Shepherds Director of Customer Services Dave Vicary said Interest Free Loans were a great way to help Australians manage their household budgets.

With the cost of fuel, food and energy prices rising, we know how much of a financial burden the new school year can be, especially when you’re already on a tight budget, Mr Vicary said.

That’s why we’re proud to partner with NAB to offer safe, fair and affordable credit options through Interest Free Loans. There are no hidden fees or charges, you only pay what you borrow.

To learn more about Interest Free School Supplies Loans, click here.

Note to editors:

  • Data excludes Tasmania.
  • State by state of education loans issued between 2018 and 2022 below
Country #Education loans issued between 2018 and 2022 Total loan value in dollars Average loan amount in dollars
NTA 117 $152,380 1302 dollars
NSW 6219 $7,419,741 1193 dollars
NT 236 $274,923 1165 dollars
QLD 3634 $3,982,147 1096 dollars
IN 1044 $1,163,892 1115 dollars
calf 4787 $5,366,477 1121 dollars
WA 1104 $1,348,306 1221 dollars
Unknown 16 $28,502 1781 dollars
Grand total 17,157 $19,736,368 1150 dollars




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