Free financial counselling for students
What is Financial Counselling?
Financial counsellors are qualified professionals who provide information, advice and advocacy to people in financial difficulty.
Their services are non-judgmental, free, independent and confidential.
Financial counsellors help people understand their options regarding which debts are priorities, develop budgets and money plans, understand the pros and cons of different options and work with you to manage financial concerns.
We can help you:
- Conduct a full assessment of your financial situation, including regular income and expenditure, plus assets and liabilities, to help you fully understand your position
- Help you create a budget and put plans into place; for example, if living out of home for the first time.
- Provide options about what to do if you’re struggling to pay debts, bill, and fines
- Help you navigate Centrelink and understand your entitlements.
- Provide advice on how to negotiate with your creditors, government agencies or other providers.
- Advocate or negotiate directly with your creditors in certain circumstances.
- Assist you if you’re being harassed by debt collectors.
- Advice on available grants and emergency support.
- Assessments for hardship requirements.
- Provide advice about what options, rights and responsibilities you may have including consumer rights.
- Provide resources and information which may help improve your financial situation.
- Refer you to other services you may need internally at the University, such as legal services, counselling, crisis food and accommodation services, and health services.
- Refer you to other services external to the University
We cannot help you with:
- Advice on investments or cryptocurrency.
- Advice on bank products.
- Advice on university fees, apart from referral to appropriate areas
- What about confidentiality?
- The financial counselling service is provided to you in confidence and financial counsellors do not pass on any information you have provided without your consent, expect where the disclosure of information is necessary for safety or legal requirements.
Financial counsellors are on occasion confused with financial planners or financial advisors, but the services provided are quite different. Financial planners/advisers provide advice to people who have money to invest. Financial counsellors work with people who are in debt or are not able to meet their ongoing expenses.
Depending on what financial issues you have, the counsellor will want to see documentation that will help clarify the problem and lead to an effective resolution. This is a list of typical documents. Bring the ones that relate to you.
- Utility Bills
- Bank Statements
- Credit Card Statements
- Centrelink Income Statement
- Statement of Arrears
La Trobe Financial Counsellors
At La Trobe, we have two financial counsellors who are available to support all students on all campuses:
- Lil Kennedy – Available – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
- Kate Smith – Available – Monday and Tuesday
Contact, location and opening hours
Availability: Monday - Thursday between 10am -4pm via phone, Zoom or in-person
Location: Health and Wellbeing Centre, Peribolas East Ground Floor, Melbourne (Bundoora) Campus
Initial appointments usually take 1-hr and there may be follow up appointments depending on the nature of your financial issues, alongside emails and phone calls.
Financial Health Resources
View our Financial Resource Hub to find some resources on how to stay financially well or to find some additional external support.