Cost of Studying In Australia Explained: A Complete Guide

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International students want to know the cost of studying in Australia.


Australia is among the popular study-abroad destinations to undertake a world-class degree, further your education, or fast-track your career. 


International students must understand the different types of expenses they may incur while studying in the country, such as tuition fees, food, travel, accommodation, and health coverage.


This blog provides a comprehensive overview of potential study costs, allowing you to effectively budget and organise your finances prior to leaving your home country.



1. Tuition Fees Tuition


Tuition fees in Australia are calculated based on the units or modules you study. The average tuition fees in Australia range between AUD 20,000 to AUD 30,000 per year.


Factors determining the tuition fee are:


  • Your education provider  

  • The study level you choose  

  • Your study location in Australia





  • Coursework, including lectures, seminars, examinations, etc. 

  • Access to the university's facilities, such as the computer lab or library.

  • The training requires access to laboratories, art studios, and other facilities and equipment.

  • Academic services charges

  • Course administration fees







Average Tuition Fee Based on Education Type


Secondary School AUD 7,800 - AUD 30,000 per Year
English language course AUD 300 per week
Vocational Education and Training AUD 4,000 - $22,000 per year
Foundation courses AUD 15,000 - AUD 33,000 total
Bachelor Degree AUD 15,000 - AUD 33,000 per year
Master's Degree AUD 14,000 - AUD 37,000 per year
Doctoral Degree AUD 14,000 - AUD 37,000 per year
MBA AUD 11,000 - AUD 121,000 per year



University Costs


So, how much does a bachelor's degree cost in Australia? The average tuition fee for bachelor's degree programs for overseas students in Australia is around AUD 30,000 a year. Tuition fees for postgraduate courses range from AUD 26,600 to AUD$76,584 annually.


Humanities and art education courses are less expensive than engineering and medicine programs. If you apply for a postgraduate degree, the tuition fee is higher, and the cost depends on your chosen program.


Also, tuition fees in suburban areas and smaller cities in Australia are slightly cheaper than in larger cities. The most affordable universities for overseas students are:


University Average Annual Cost
Torrens University AUD 13,2000 – 34,480
The University of Southern Queensland AUD 13,440 – 50,000
The University of the Sunshine Coast AUD 13,900 – 30,000
Victoria University AUD 14,600 – 34,000
Australian Catholic University AUD 18,944 – 41,472



2. Accommodation Costs


You have multiple living options when you come to Australia. The weekly rent can range from $130 to $600, depending on your chosen accommodation type


Staying with a homestay family or on campus can be a comparatively cheaper option, as internet and utility bills are most likely included in your rent.


Accommodation costs usually vary based on the region you choose to live in. The more rural areas of the northern and western Australian states, like Adelaide, will be less costly than more urban areas, such as Melbourne or Sydney, and provide better value for money.


Several universities in Australia provide on-campus accommodation facilities for overseas students. You may also opt for other options, such as shared apartments, a guest house, a homestay with a local Australian family, or a rental property.


Type of Accommodation Monthly Cost
On-campus accommodation $440 – 1,120
Homestay $940 – 1,300
Shared rental accommodation $740– 1760
Student Halls of Residence $320 to $1000
Guest House $320 to $540



3. Transportation Costs


Though driving is the most accessible form of transportation, choosing public transport can save you money.


You can travel short distances to get around the city and suburbs safely and easily with buses, ferries, trains, or trams. You can get a monthly or weekly pass costing around AUD 80 and AUD 20, respectively. Furthermore, student concessions are also available in most states in the country.


For large distances, i.e., between cities, using air, rail, or long-distance bus transport options is beneficial. Overseas students in Australia are also eligible to get government-sponsored free transportation services.


Type of Transportation Option Projected Cost (for short Distances)
Regional trains and buses AUD 3 for a short-distance ride

AUD 20 for a weekly travel pass

AUD 80 for a monthly travel pass
Trams Differs based on the city
Ride-sharing services Differs based on a travel agency and distance
Bike rentals Varies based on the rental company and city
Walking Free


Furthermore, some Australian universities provide a private transport system free of charge for on-campus students to help them travel around different places.


You can also benefit from several discount programmes based on the state (Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland all provide subsidised transport for students).



4. Food Cost


Your food costs will vary considerably based on your personal choices and habits. Buying groceries from a cheaper local supermarket such as Woolworths, Coles, and Aldi may cost around AU $100 to AU $280 per week.


Australia has numerous restaurants to relish different cuisines from around the world. In contrast, the average meal price for a person in a low-end restaurant is approx. AU $18, a 3-course meal for two people could cost you around AU $80.



5. Other Living Expenses


Overseas students should create a budget of around AUD 200 to AUD 400 per week, considering the following expenses:



Phone and Internet Expenses


Considering mobile phone bills and mobile data expenses abroad is essential to stay in touch with your near and dear ones. A projected budget for phone calls is approx. AUD 60 for three months. Internet plans can cost you AUD 20-AUD 100 per month on average.



Books and Supplies


Regardless of your course, you will need certain study materials such as textbooks, calculators, and protective equipment (laboratory coat, work safety boots). Generally, these costs can range from approximately AUD$500 to AUD$1,500 per year.



Student Insurance


Overseas students must have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) before commencing their program in Australia. This medical insurance covers visits to the doctor, ambulance charges, and selected medicines and hospital treatments.


The OSHC cover cost depends on the insurance provider and your coverage level. The average price of OSHC insurance for an undergraduate student is $438 for three years.



Pre-Arrival Expenses


It includes airfare, college application fees, visa application fees, and standardised exam charges. The average pre-arrival expense in Australia is approx. AUD 3,000.



Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)


Students may also need to pay a non-academic fee on top of their tuition fees, which funds support and services programmes for all students. The cost varies based on the region and university, usually $315 per academic year.



Student Medical Examination


Students have to compulsorily complete a medical examination at the time of applying for a Student visa. They are responsible for bearing all expenses incurred in taking this examination. Usually, the cost of medical exams ranges between AUD$30 to AUD$50.


Additional expenses you may or may not incur:

  • A litre of unleaded petrol: $1.93 on average

  • Gas and electricity: $10 to $20 per week

  • Entertainment: $80 to $150 per week

  • Clothing: $10 to $50 per week



Student Visa Costs


International Students must apply for a Student Visa (Subclass 500) to be eligible to study in Australia for up to 5 years. The visa application fee may vary based on where you apply; the current cost is AUD 650.


Prospective students can use the visa pricing estimator on the Department of Home Affairs website to get an accurate estimate. To obtain this visa, applicants must prove they have AUD 21,041 per year for living costs alone to cover one to two years.


Alternatively, they must provide proof of their parent's or partner's salary, AUD 62,222, in the year before they apply. Also, if their family members are also accompanying them, they must have an annual income of at least AUD$72,592.



6. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



What is The Cheapest Course To Study in Australia?


If you are looking for a recognised degree in Australia at a low cost, then you may consider pursuing the following courses:


Course Name Estimated Annual Tuition Fees (AUD)
English for Academic Purposes 4,900
Foundation Studies in Communication and Social Context 28,500
Diploma in Computer Engineering 39,120
Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) 44,464
Master of Economics 54,000



Is TAFE cheaper than Uni?


Yes. Public universities like TAFE charge lesser fees compared to private institutions. It is due to the government subsidies that reduce the course fee considerably and make the course economical for TAFE students.


Also, with the HELP debts on the rise, an increasing number of students are choosing TAFE and VET courses over university degree courses.


A bachelor's degree may cost you around $20 to $40k (more for Medical and Veterinary programs), and a TAFE course may cost you between $5 to $30k, though it varies by course.


After the introduction of Free TAFE in 2018 in Victoria, students may not even require paying for the course if they fulfil the criteria of location, citizenship, age, and education history.


However, only those courses listed under skill shortage areas are fully subsidised by the government. So, students can complete the course for free and will graduate with no HELP debt.


Eligible courses fall into the following areas:



Thus, TAFE and VET qualifications are cheaper than university programs and provide a pathway to high income and employability.



Is Australia a Cheap Place To Study?


Compared to other popular study destinations such as the United States, the UK, and Canada, Australia is relatively affordable for international students.


One of the reasons is that the Australian government offers various financial assistance and scholarship programs to overseas students. These scholarships help cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other related costs.


Another reason Australia is a cost-efficient place to study is the relative strength of the Australian dollar against other currencies. It implies that your money will go further into studying in Australia.


It's important to mention that the cost of studying in Australia varies depending on the city you choose. Opting for rural areas such as western and northern Australian states and smaller cities can lead to significant cost savings compared to urban areas and large cities.


Furthermore, studying in affordable Australian universities can help limit your expenses. Some of these institutions include:


  • Torrens University

  • The University of Southern Queensland   

  • The University of the Sunshine Coast

  • Victoria University

  • Australian Catholic University


Additionally, if you wish to study at a low cost in Australia, opt for a homestay family or a university-offered on-campus housing that covers meal plans and utility bills.



Is It Expensive To Live and Study in Australia?


Studying abroad in Australia may not be as costly as you think. As per the Department of Home Affairs, a single student's minimum cost of living is $20,290.


Here are a few tips to help lower your study expenses in Australia:


  • Staying on campus or with a homestay family 

  • Choose affordable locations like Adelaide for accommodation. 

  • Locate restaurants and cafes that serve meals at concessional rates or have a "Specials" menu for students. Learning to cook for yourself is the cheapest alternative to eating outside. 

  • Choose public transport over private transport. 

  • Apply for scholarships

  • Save on study costs by getting an e-book, securing a library membership, or buying second-hand materials from student portal forums, Gumtree (a free local classified platform), and on-campus notice boards. However, ensure you buy the current edition taught in your program.

  • Look for cheaper student deals when shopping for clothing or movie tickets. 

  • Consider discount supermarkets or local markets to buy groceries. 

  • Work part-time for 40 hours per fortnight while studying to offset the cost of studying abroad. 



Does Australia Give Money To Students?


Yes. The Australian government supports domestic and international students through student loans, scholarships, etc.



Domestic Students


Like several other countries, domestic students usually pay a lesser fee to study in Australia than overseas students.


It is because the government defines the maximum limit of student contribution and subsidises it. Most domestic students are eligible for the CSP or a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan.



Overseas Students


Scholarships are a practical option for overseas students to reduce their study costs in Australia. Besides the Australian government-sponsored scholarships, higher education institutions and public or private universities also provide scholarships to overseas students.


Here are some Australian scholarships you can consider before applying for your preferred course in the country:


  • ANU Chancellor's International Scholarship

  • UNSW's Future of Change Scholarship

  • Australia Awards 

  • Short-term mobility opportunities for Australian and Asian university students under the Destination Australia Cheung Kong Exchange Program 

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation- Gates Cambridge Scholarship

  • Global Excellence Scholarship 

  • The Research Training Program offers scholarships to students undertaking a higher degree through research.


The Australian government also offers tuition protection for students if their education or training provider closes or stops delivering the courses. In this case, the program refunds the course fees paid or supports students in finding an alternative course and provider.



7. Conclusion


By having a clear understanding of the potential expenses associated with studying in Australia, you can effectively manage your finances and carefully plan your budget.


Explore other Topics:

⇒ Student Visa Complete Guide  
⇒ Scholarships for International Students
⇒ Australian Universities Scholarship Table 
⇒ Advantages & Disadvantages of Education Agents
⇒ Applying to Study in Australia: Student Timeline
⇒ Seven Tips for Students on a Budget in Australia
⇒ How to Find Part-Time Work as a Student in Australia

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