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The basics
Australia: Student Finances

How much does it cost to study in Australia?

The cost of studying in Australia is an important question for international students. Our complete guide breaks down these costs for you.

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Australia is well known for its great student lifestyle and relaxed vibe. However, you may also have heard worrying things about the cost of living there as an international student. It’s a great place to study, but you’re right to do the research first.


In this article, we explore the cost of living in Australia and provide some tips to help you get the most from your money.


What costs can I expect?


As with any country, there are certain unavoidable costs you will face as a student living in Australia. Some, you’ll be able to reduce through lifestyle choices, but others will remain a constant.


You’ll definitely need to budget for:

  • accommodation
  • food and everyday essentials
  • travel and transport
  • entertainment
  • connectivity (internet, mobile phone etc)
  • hidden costs (things that are unique to you, for example, course supplies or visa fees)


Tuition fees


We have a separate article for you to read about Australian international tuition fees, but as a guideline, you can expect to pay yearly:


  • AUD 10,500 to AUD 50,000 (undergraduate level)
  • AUD 4,200 to AUD 50,000 (postgraduate level)



The difference in cost between regions


Wherever you live in the world, you’ll find variation in costs based on region. In most countries, city living will be more expensive than living in the country, but there’s often a geographic difference too.


If you are thinking of studying in Tasmania, you’re in luck – Hobart is one of the cheapest cities in Australia. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sydney comes in first place for most expensive with Perth and Brisbane comfortably in the middle. More broadly speaking, east coast cities tend to be more expensive than other parts of the country.


Try not to let the cost of living worry you too much – you’ll always find exceptions to the rules and there is often variance in costs even between suburbs and individual properties. This article is just a general guide.




One of your biggest costs as a student will be accommodation. In Australia, it's less common for students to live on-campus than it is in many other countries. As such, if an institution does offer on-campus accommodation, it’s often in high demand and you’ll need to apply early. Instead, most students choose to live in private rental properties.


We’ve researched options for students who intend to remain in Australia for a year or more, but if you are studying a short course, guesthouses or homestay options may work better for your budget. Your university should be able to provide you with more details on these.


University residence

If you choose to live in a university-owned property, you’ll be looking at paying rent of around AUD 360 to AUD 1,120 per month.


Halls of residence are typically the cheapest form of university-owned properties. Here, you’ll generally have a private room with shared bathrooms, kitchens and social areas. They are usually self-catered.


Slightly more expensive are residential colleges which generally include meals, cleaning and additional student services in the price. Some universities also offer apartments or houses on or close to campus which students can rent alone or with others.


University residences in Australia often do not house students over holiday periods, so be sure to check this with your education provider beforehand.


Private rentals


Renting privately is the top choice for most students in Australia, especially renting in a house or flat-share with others. It offers you freedom and enables you to choose a place that suits your needs.


For a private rental, you should budget for monthly rent costs of approximately:


  • AUD 500 to AUD 1,750 (single occupancy)
  • AUD 300 to AUD 1,000 (shared occupancy)


You’ll usually be asked to pay a security deposit (generally equivalent to one month’s rent) and your first month’s rent in advance. As long as you return the property in the good condition, you’ll get your deposit back when you leave.


Most private rentals will not be furnished (there will not be any furniture), so you’ll need to consider the cost of buying furniture and household goods. Many students choose to buy things second-hand using websites like Gumtree or charity shops.


Remember, although this may feel like a big expense to begin with, these items should last you the length of your stay in the country and you may be able to sell them when you leave.


Most private rentals will not include utility bills (electricity, gas and water) in the cost of the rent. The average monthly cost of gas, electricity and water for a student in Australia is AUD 100 to AUD 400. Obviously, if you live in shared accommodation, you’ll be sharing the bills with others which often works out cheaper, even if the property is bigger than if you lived alone.




If you’re in the vast majority of students who live in some form of self-catered accommodation, you’ll have the fun of learning to cook on a budget. The cost of groceries isn’t just food though, it also includes the day-to-day things you can’t go without, like toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, etc),  and cleaning products.


Food prices in Australia change a lot between states. For example, Tasmania will typically leave you with the cheapest grocery bills, with the Northern Territories being the most expensive.


Generally, though, you’ll want to budget around AUD 500 to AUD 700 per month for your groceries.




Your transport needs will obviously depend on where you choose to live in relation to your university. If you live on, or near to, campus, you may find you can walk or cycle most places. However, if you live further away you’ll need to include transport costs in your budget.


In Australia, depending on the city, you’ll be looking at buses, trams, ferries and trains to get you around quickly and cheaply.


Most states offer student concessions or discounts on public transport. Be sure to read up on the eligibility requirements in the state you want to study in, to see if there’s an option that works for you.


Some average costs for single journeys (without a student concession) in Australia are:


  • bus: AUD 3.00
  • tram: AUD 2.00
  • ferry: AUD 6.00
  • train: AUD 4.00


Many cities offer travelcard options to help you reduce costs if you’re taking regular journeys. Some have pay-as-you-go style cards (which deduct credit from the overall balance) like New South Wales’s Opal card, which also benefits from daily and weekly caps meaning you’ll know the maximum amount you can pay.


Some of the larger education providers offer their own transport systems to help students get onto and around campus. There is always the option of taxis although these are expensive and not great for a tight budget.




Part of the joy of going to university is the fun experiences you’ll have. You’ll want to budget for leisure and social activities. Look out for student discounts at venues to see if you can get cheaper prices.


Some average costs for entertainment include:


  • pint of beer: AUD 9.00
  • cinema ticket: AUD 14.00
  • concert ticket: AUD 120
  • restaurant meal for two: AUD 100


Don’t forget, there are so many ways to reduce costs while still having a great time. A day on one of Australia’s beaches will cost you nothing. Alternatively, why not explore one of the country’s famous and free botanic gardens?




For most people, staying connected to the internet on the go is important, especially while abroad when it isn’t always easy to keep in touch with family back home.


In Australia, the average cost of broadband internet for one household is AUD 80 per month. Of course, this will be less if you’re in a house or flat share.


Australia offers some great SIM-only deals to help you stay connected while you’re out and about. If you get a good deal on data, you won’t need to worry about the cost of international calls as you’ll be able to make use of apps to contact home. You’ll probably need to budget around AUD 30 to AUD 50 a month for this kind of plan.


Miscellaneous and hidden costs


Life is full of unexpected surprises. Every now and then you’ll need to pay for extras such as clothes or perhaps replace a piece of technology. Be sure to have an emergency fund worked into your budget, just in case.


Although the university library will have a lot of your reading materials, you’ll also need to factor in the costs of textbooks, stationery and equipment for your course.


Of course, there will be costs associated with your arrival too like visas and insurance. Why not read our article to learn more about student visa costs and requirements?


Although living in Australia may sound expensive, remember to keep an eye open for student discounts, available in many places across the country. And of course, most student visas will allow you to work while you study in Australia. In fact, at the moment, there are no restrictions on how many hours international students can work in the country.


Try not to worry, as soon as your budget is organised, you’ll find it much easier to relax and enjoy the Aussie way of life.


At the time of writing 1 AUD is equal to 0.72 USD


Disclaimer: All figures in this article are indicative only and correct at the time of writing. Since the economy can be subject to rapid, unexpected changes at any time, we always recommend you do your own research before booking any travel.

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