At eight years old, when Tara was given her first book on human anatomy, she instantly knew that would be her future career path. She bombarded her mum with facts like, ‘This is how the heart pumps blood!’, and ‘Did you know that our stomachs digest food?’.
So, when Tara was accepted into a biomedical degree at La Trobe, she was over the moon and excited to pursue her dreams.
But things didn't go as planned. The pandemic took a huge toll on Tara’s mental health. She had to leave her job, which dealt a severe blow to her finances. As the cost of living went up, Tara had to spend a lot of her savings just to keep afloat. On top of this, Tara’s living situation changed too, and she could barely keep her head above water.
The rising cost of living is putting students, like Tara, in serious financial trouble. It’s eroding their sense of self-worth and forcing them to abandon their studies and aspirations. As Tara explains:
“Financial hardship made me doubt my self-worth. I felt like I wasn’t deserving of my education, like I wasn’t good enough to be here. But then something unexpected happened. Out of the blue, someone believed in me.”
Tara still remembers the moment she received her scholarship:
“I was in the middle of class. I started messaging everyone I knew, and I even leaned across to the girl sitting next to me who I’d never met to tell her. I was just like, ‘I’m so sorry but I’ve just won a scholarship!’.
Tara isn’t the only student who’s been affected by rising costs. Many are also struggling to pay for necessities such as food and transport to and from uni. Too many are facing severe financial need. Like Tara, they’re unable to focus on their studies because they’re anxious about their bills, and embarrassed to ask for help.
For many students, survival has become a lifestyle now.
100 per cent of donations will go directly to the Student Hardship Support Fund, to support domestic and international students with $1,000 bursaries who urgently need financial assistance to continue their studies. Donations could come just in time to help a student afford to live:
- $150 pays for a weekly grocery bill
- $350 covers the cost of weekly rent
- $1,000 funds a Student Hardship Support Fund payment for a student
- $5,000 funds a La Trobe Foundation Scholarship for a student for one year
Today, Tara is in the second year of her degree thanks to the support of generous donors and La Trobe community.
Giving to the Student Hardship Support Fund can empower a student to put their education first, despite the hardship they may face. Every little bit helps, and any contribution will significantly improve the lives of students who are struggling to make ends meet. All gifts support us to reach La Trobe University’s Make the Difference campaign target of $200 million by 2026.