Cost of Living in Australia for international Students

b2ap3_large_Cost-of-Living-in-Australia-for-international-Students1-1 Manage Your Expenses in Australia: A Study Australia Guide to Living Costs - aecc

How much money do you have to earn to live in Australia? It is not a question you may see answered in an economics class, even though the cost of living in Australia or elsewhere enormously affects your personal finances. The phrase cost of living refers to the money you need to pay for necessities like food, transportation, housing, utilities, healthcare, and taxes. There are many different metrics to measure how much money people require to live in a place, and Australia is no exception. 

Some of those metrics are:

  • The amount of money it takes to pay for the necessities
  • Whether those costs are affordable to people
  • How changes to those costs impact different populations

The average annual living cost for international students in Australia is between $16,800 and $30,000. That said, cost of living varies from person to person, so you must understand the way in which it impacts your financial situation and how you can address it. Read further for a breakdown of the costs as well as a few ways to reduce them to benefit your studies. 

How Much Money Will You Need to Live in Australia?

As stated above, it depends on several factors. The cost of living in Australia varies according to where you reside here and at what time. For instance, living in regional Australia requires less money as compared to a big city in the country. Cost of living still varies a lot around Australia, so it is almost impossible to discuss exact prices. Regard the information in the table below as just estimates, not precise figures.

Cost of living matters more especially to international students, with immigration playing a key role. The Department of Home Affairs necessitates everyone who applies for a student visa to show that they can afford a minimum living cost of $1,754 a month or $21,041 a year. This figure may change, but remember that you will have to substantiate that you possess enough money to reside while studying in Australia.

A lower cost of living in Australia for students and others generally implies that the basic expenses have become more affordable. This usually affects the low-income population as they have to pay a larger chunk of their income for non-discretionary products such as petrol and food. So if prices come down, international students who fall under the low-income category will feel it more than others. It is important to think about cost of living in the context of personal finances, since it demonstrates how the economy impacts our personal situations.

Monthly Cost of Off-Campus Accommodation

Accommodation Cost in Adelaide 

Homestay $1,300
Shared house $872
One Bedroom housing unit$1,760
Managed apartment$1,040

Accommodation Cost in Sydney 

Homestay $1,340
Shared house $1,132
One bedroom housing unit$2,980
Managed apartment$1,620

Accommodation Cost in Melbourne 

Homestay $1,340
Shared house $972
One bedroom housing unit$2,700
Managed apartment$1,552

Accommodation Cost in Brisbane 

Homestay $1,280
Shared house $93
One bedroom housing unit$2,800
Managed apartment$1,200

Accommodation Cost in Hobart 

Homestay $1,340
Shared house $872
One bedroom housing unit$2,160
Managed apartment$916

Accommodation Cost in Perth 

Homestay $1,300
Shared house $820
One bedroom housing unit$1,640
Managed apartment$1,020

As you can see, the cost of shared housing is lesser for each of the cities when compared to other accommodation types. Another factor that will influence the approximate cost is whether you live in the suburbs or the downtown areas of the cities.

Almost every university in Australia offers a limited number of housing options to accommodate students on campus. Some universities in Australia offer their students accommodation with dormitories/residence halls, apartments, or residential colleges. Because the availability and housing prices vary from one university to another, international students have to contact their higher education provider before their course. Students also have to apply for these types of accommodation early since they are popular and limited in number. In-campus housing in Australia generally costs $80 to $250 a week. Because of the limited availability of in-campus housing, several international students in Australia live off-campus.

As a rental customer, you can share an apartment or housing unit with your friends or family since it will allow you to share utility and grocery expenses. It will also be a good thing for you to come back home each day to some great company. That said, your personal situation will decide how you want to live in Australia as an international student. For instance, if your course requires you to spend more time studying in Australia, it may necessitate a single-bedroom housing unit for maximum privacy.

Monthly Cost of Frequent Transport Use

Transport Cost in Adelaide 

Public transport $100
Car $300

Transport Cost in Sydney

Public transport $175
Car $300

Transport Cost in Melbourne 

Public transport $150
Car $300

Transport Cost in Brisbane

Public transport $150
Shared house $300

Transport Cost in Hobart

Public transport $50
Car $300

Transport Cost in Perth 

Public transport $130
Car $300

Public transport costs less than other forms of transportation in all these cities. It is worth noting that the aforementioned costs would apply only in the case of frequent use of transport and if you live in the main city areas.

There are several different ways to save on your transportation costs in Australia. For instance, by using public transport, taxis for hire, or even just using your car less often, you might incur a lesser amount of cost than the aforementioned. You may also use different modes of transport at different periods of a month according to factors such as petrol prices. Keep an eye on petrol prices in Australia, and try to make the purchase as and when the prices are lower.

Consider using your bicycle to get around as well. It is an eco-friendly way of cutting down the annual living cost for international students in Australia. Moreover, as an international student, you may qualify for public transport discounts in certain parts of the country if you satisfy the requirements for it.

Cost of Groceries and Food Items in Australia

Item Cost in AUD
Whole Fat Milk (1 Litre)
Eggs (a Dozen)
Apples (1 KG)
Tomatoes (1 KG)
Potatoes (1 KG)
Beef (1 KG)
Bread for a Person for Two Days
Domestic Beer (Half Litre)
Cold Drink (2 Litres) 
Red Table Wine (One Bottle)

The cost of food will vary from person to person depending on aspects of lifestyle, such as eating habits, choice of stay or location. So, we can only talk about food costs in Australia in a general sense. Australia has a diverse community base, so you can get all forms of food in the country. That said, the affordability is likely to differ between cities and other places in Australia. For instance, food is generally expensive in a big city in Australia, but you can curb your food cost by dining out less often and cooking in your place of residence.

If you plan to prepare food more often at home, you could save on your overall food cost with groceries from affordable supermarkets such as Coles, Woolworths, or ALDI.

Other Costs in Australia

Mobile Internet 

As with food, how much you spend on mobile internet depends on the level of mobile data you use. If you only do basic surfing, you might get by with a cheap internet plan in Australia. Therefore, we can only give you an approximate range you will need to pay for mobile internet in cities in Australia. Depending on which plan you choose in Australia, mobile internet can cost you $40 to $100 a month. Apart from your mobile internet usage, even a factor such as your choice of stay can impact that amount. For instance, your homestay host may offer you a discounted Wi-Fi plan, thus driving down your overall mobile service cost per month. Do ask for student prices when you approach any providers so you can compare prices.


Your total clothing cost in Australia depends on the quantity of clothes, the types of clothes you may require for different occasions, and your gender too. On average, you may be able to get clothing items for around $35 to $150. There are ways to reduce what you pay for clothing in Australia, such as making the purchase during special sale events and mixing and matching designer clothes from second-hand or thrift shops.


Electricity prices vary from place to place in Australia. For instance, New South Wales and Victoria will not have identical average rates of electricity for each kilowatt-hour. It is worth noting that what you spend for each kilowatt-hour will only be a small part of your monthly electricity bill. A factor that contributes more to the bill amount is the fee that will be applied irrespective of the amount of electricity you use.

Electricity costs in Australia are also subject to change frequently, so even approximate figures here can go far off the mark. The prices come down sometimes and go up on other occasions.

Cost of Education in Australia

Study Level Approximate Fees (in AUD)
English Language  Studies $350-$450
Undergraduate Bachelor's degree$15000-$35000
Postgraduate Master's Degree$20000-$42000
Doctoral Degree$20000-$42000

Australia is among the best-known study-abroad destinations. The usual number of international students who come to Australia is a sign of its popularity with regard to education. With that in mind, read on for the approximate fees that you will have to pay for education in Australia.

How Much Will International Students Have to Pay for Course Costs and Tuition Fees?

University tuition fees still vary a lot according to what and where you plan to study, as well as the level that you will study. Do you plan on pursuing a diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate, or doctorate-level course? The fee for an international student who wants to pursue a Bachelor's degree usually ranges from $20,000 to $45,000 a year. In general, a Master's or a PhD level study in Australia costs $22,000 to $50,000 a year. It is worth noting that the above numbers do not apply to higher-value courses like medical or veterinary degrees, as they can cost more.

Universities in Australia calculate tuition fees on a per-unit basis rather than a per-year basis. A particular fee band applies to each unit; almost every student will have to pay different fees as they will study units from many different bands.

Contributing Factors

The cost of study in Australia is different for international students and domestic students. Domestic students find it more affordable to pursue education in Australia, which is especially true for people who qualify for Commonwealth Supported Places. These are places at all public universities and some private universities where the Australian government pays a part of the fees for domestic students.

Another factor that may contribute to the cost of studying in Australia is the Student Services and Amenities fee (SSAF), which applies to non-academic amenities and services. Not all universities charge the SSAF, but be sure to check whether a higher education provider does so when applying for a course there. The last thing you want when looking for low cost study in Australia is an unexpected expense.


If you qualify for a university scholarship, however, it would impact your cost of education in Australia significantly. Not every university in Australia offers scholarships, and there are requirements to qualify for scholarships at higher education institutions that provide it. For more information on what scholarships are available for you, contact any of our education counsellors.


Another factor that adds to your study in Australia is the cost of immigration, including the visa application fee. For the primary applicant, $650 is the base application fee. However, there are some cases that may exempt you from having to pay the aforesaid Australia visa application cost, such as an education provider default.

There may be an additional fee for each eligible relative applying for the visa with you depending on whether there is an exemption. This may also drive up your student visa and application cost in Australia. Are you a relative of someone with an Australian student visa who is in the defence or foreign affairs sector? Have you applied for a visa to join that relative of yours at a future date in Australia? If the answers to these questions are yes, you may have to pay neither the base visa application charge nor the additional charge.

FAQs on Cost of Living in Australia

1. What is the Average Cost of Living in Australia?

It could vary a lot from one location to another. Most of the factors that contribute to the overall cost of living in Australia could be different in cities from the suburbs of Australia. For an international student, this basically means that the average living cost could differ as per your university's location and preferred type of accommodation.

2. How Much Does It Cost to Study in Australia for International Students?

It depends on what and where you are studying. Not all universities in Australia have the same fee structure. Besides, some universities offer scholarships to students, which can influence your total cost of education in Australia.

3. How Much is the Living Cost in Australia for One Person?

Not all have the same cost of living as many factors influence it, including some relative factors. An example of a relative or a subjective factor is the location of your university. That said, all the pieces of statistics mentioned above apply to one person. 

Found it helpful? We can help you take it further. Contact us and get all your queries on PR, visas, migration, scholarships, and others answered today! 

Related Posts

new-logo_white Manage Your Expenses in Australia: A Study Australia Guide to Living Costs - aecc

Let's get social.

Speak to our Consultant