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This paper responds to concern over the financial circumstances of tertiary students in Australia. A pilot study is undertaken of second year accounting students at an Australian regional university. Survey data and reflexive written comments combine to give a social report of student circumstances, contributing to the sparse accounting literature of social reports. It is concluded that many students are exploited in their employment, being paid below minimum wage rates, while many work two or more jobs to support their studies. The paper calls for a rethink on the societal view of education as a private good, and argues that education has public benefits in the public interest. Visibility is given to the social justice needs of students.

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