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So now what? We have just learned that delaying your HECs payments can incur riba (even more for those who already have one) but the question remains. How can we do this? How can we implement this ruling? This article is going to all about practicality, bithnillah.
First of all, we must change our mindset. Once we say that we can’t do something then automatically our minds shut down and no longer wishes to explore the possibilities.
Therefore, I request that before you begin reading this article, you say out loud to yourself (or in your head, if there are people around you :P)
“I will pay off all my HECs debt inshaAllah”
Secondly, know that Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear (Baqarah: 286) therefore there is definitely a way around this. Allah put you in this situation because he knew that you have the capacity to get through this.
When going to university, courses fees are set according to the band they fall in.
The maximum student contribution amounts change every year. In 2010, they will be:
BAND 1: $5310 (fields such as humanities, social studies, languages, visual and performing arts).
BAND 2: $7567 (fields such as agriculture, built environment, computing, health, engineering, surveying).
BAND 3: $8859 (fields such as law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, accounting, administration, economics, commerce).
National Priority: $4249 (nursing, education, mathematics (including statistics)* and science*).
Let’s take a case study:
Zeynab is a 19 year old sister undertaking a commence degree full time (Band 3) in University of New South Wales. The maximum she will have to pay is $8859 per year.
Since she is going to paying off her fees as soon as possible (before the indexation takes place) she will be eligible for a 20% discount, therefore she will need to only pay $7087.2 in order for her $8859 to be paid off. If we were to calculate how much Zeynab needs to set aside per week in order to reach her target, it would roughly be about $150.
She looks at her university timetable of 2010 and realizes that she will be getting approximately 17 weeks holiday which means that she will only be studying for 70% of the year therefore she use the remaining 30% to work.
She has one problem though. Since Kindergarden she has been a student and has never entered the workforce, therefore she has no idea where to get this much money from. She needs help.
What can we suggest to poor Zeynab? (no pun intended! :P)
- She can find a job, be it in a supermarket, fast food joint, department store, security (more applicable for brothers). During the holidays, she can take up more shifts with her current job or take on another job. Whether it is a job on campus or as a casual during the busy Christmas seasons. Some casuals working during this Christmas season can earn up to $6000 (or even more) which means that Zeynab will only have $1087.2 (equivalent to $20p/w) remaining.
- If Zeynab is eligible for the Centrelink Youth Allowance, then she can claim around $200 per fortnight.
- Zeynab can do private tutoring. Just being an ‘unversity student’ is an enough of a qualification for parents to hire her to tutor their kids. If she doesn’t feel confident teaching older high school students then she can teach primary school students since they are normally easier to teach and very little preparation is needed for their lessons. If Zeynab decides to charge $20 per hour then she will only need to work 7.5hrs per week OR 1hr per week (if she is going to work during summer).
- If Zeynab feels even more daring and wants to exercise her entrepreneurial muscles then she should get straight into the business. Its lots of fun and can be quite challenging but you learn so much about managing money and you keep your mind intellectually stimulated during the holidays. In today’s extravagant society, everyone wants to spend. The key ingredient is to find a niche market and begin selling. It’s that simple. Sheikh Tawfique himself used this method (selling cars from Japan) in order to fund his medical degree. This is what I would personally recommend to Zeynab mainly because Zeynab can chose to work whenever she wants.
Zeynab can also cut back on her expenses. A few ideas:
- Buy 2nd hand textbooks whenever she can
- Pack food from home instead of buying food. It adds up at the end.
- Limit outings – less restaurants, less movies, less retail therapies, less parties (halal parties, I hope! :)).
These are just some of the things she can do, the possibility is endless. If Zeynab just googles up ways on how a student can earn money, she will find plenty of information inshaAllah.
Another powerful thing Zeynab and every other student in a similar situation can do is learn how to earn money. I know this may sound very strange but school only teaches us the traditional way of earning money (i.e. working under someone) when in reality there are so many other ways. There is really nothing more powerful than educating oneself. Some things that she can do
- Learn what things increase Rizq (Wealth) from the Quran and Sunnah.
- Read books on how to increase your wealth. One of my favourites is Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- Keep a diary to record what she learned, her ideas, her findings etc.
Last but not least, the most powerful weapon of all – Du’a (supplication). Zeynab should make lots of du’a and pray that Allah allows her to pay off her fees. With this attitude, inshaAllah she should be able to make money to pay off her fees and make even more money on top of that. At the end of the day, Rizq (wealth) is from Allah and he gives it to whomever he wishes.
The main thing is that you can do it! If International Students can pay off their college fees (which is similar to what we pay for university) whilst paying for their rent, food, transportation with very little support from back home and limited working hours (20hrs per week). Then I am sure that we can all do it!
All these options takes sacrifices and requires us to go past our comfort zone but this just further reinforces our belief of this life being a test from Allah. Life is not easy but all you’re toiling will be worth it when you step into Jannah having tried your best to not wage war against Allah and his Messenger.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When Allah desires good for someone, He tries him with hardships.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]
Take on this test and be patient for the sake of Allah. For he will put much barakah (blessings) in your degree and take it further than you would imagine, bithnillah.
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