February 10, 2023

Is It Expensive To Live In Australia On A Student Visa?

Are you considering studying abroad in Australia, but the question of “is it expensive to live in Australia on a student visa” is causing you to doubt your decision? Well, we’ve got you covered with an in-depth breakdown of living expenses for those on a Australian student visa and budget.

Living in Australia on a student visa is comparable to most European countries. International students residing in Australia spend between AUD1400 and AUD2500 monthly. The Department of Home Affairs advises an annual budget of AUD21 041 for living expenses, which equates to roughly €13 634.70.

While the department of Home Affairs recommends AUD21 000, the actual cost of living for students in Australia depends on various factors, including where and what you’re studying, how long your course is, transportation, and if you’re sponsoring yourself. Below we’ll further investigate some of these expenses.


The Cost Of Living For Those On A Student Visa In Australia

The Cost of Living For Those On A Student Visa in Australia

For most individuals on a student visa, the cost of living is a tremendous concern, particularly if you’re a foreigner and on your own. 

The Australian Department of Home Affairs advises that the annual cost of living equates to roughly AUD21 041. However, this amount does not include your tuition fees

Before you qualify for a student visa, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have enough funds in your bank account to:

  • Travel to and in Australia 
  • Cover your living costs
  • Pay for your tuition

Based on these requirements, Australian immigration services require a minimum account balance depending on your first year tuition fee. 

However, if you bring family members to Australia, you’ll need to prove that you have  an extra AUD7 362 per adult and AUD3 152 per child.

Once you qualify, working out your cost of living is the next step.

The Australian Government website offers a cost of living calculator to help interested individuals determine how much they need to live in Australia.

The total cost to study in Australia depends on how you want to live, your chosen course (where you’ll study, what level, who the service provider is, and what equipment you need to study), and meeting the visa requirements to study.


Student Budgets: Travel In Australia

Student Visa Australia! Find out your estimated monthly costs for everyday items

Although only sometimes at the top of our lists, a travel budget is important. The Australian Immigration Services (AIS) advises that you’ll need AUD1000 in your account if you apply in Australia. 

If you’re applying from outside Australia, you’ll need AUD2000.

In some regions of Australia, school students don’t pay to take the bus. In contrast, university and other tertiary education students pay AUD1 to use the bus for an unlimited amount of trips during a three-hour window (provided they have a valid student card).


Student Budgets: The Cost Of Living In Australia

The cost of living is challenging to estimate as it is subjective. 

Not all people eat the same food, wear the same clothes, or need the same things. However, the estimate looks at a range of “basic necessities” and some luxuries to provide an accurate ballpark.

AUD21 041 per annum is what the government decided was needed to cover living costs, which include rent/housing, utilities, groceries, luxuries/entertainment, etc.


Student Budgets: Tuition Fees

The University of Sydney in Australia is a great choice for students visiting on a student visa living in a city

Your course (and where you study) will influence how much your tuition fees equate to. The AIS recommends that if your course is over multiple years, you take the first 12 months of tuition as an estimate. 

If your course is one year or less, then take the full amount to calculate your budget requirements.

If you’ve already paid your tuition, you can deduct the amount from your total budgetary requirements (provided you supply the immigration services with evidence of payment).


The Cost Of Living Varies Between Different Australian Cities

Perth City is a great option for renting, food, easy reach to Europe, tax, gas, private health insurance and domestic beer

While the AIS requires you to have a rather hefty sum in your account, the good news is you don’t have to spend as much as AUD21 041 on living expenses.

Most international students experience monthly expenses between AUD1400 and AUD2500, which equates to roughly AUD16 800 to AUD30 000 annually.

For example, living in Melbourne costs roughly AUD2000 per month (excluding tuition), while living in Sydney costs roughly AUD4100. These differences relate to accommodation, transport, and other variables.

Traveling Concessions In Australia

The various regions of Australia have different policies on public transport.

Several states offer concessions (discounted rates) to students, including:

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia

New South Wales doesn’t offer special student rates; however, the places of education might provide discount cards.


Which Cities In Australia Are Student-Budget Friendly?

Cheaper cities for monthly costs in Australia on a Student Visa vs. Major Cities

The most budget-friendly cities in Australia include:


Located in South Australia, Adelaide has six universities.

The weekly cost of living is roughly AUD377, which is 14% more affordable than in some other large cities.


Located in the Northern Territory, Darwin has two universities.

The weekly cost of living is around AUD443.


Located in Western Australia, Perth has five universities

The weekly cost of living in this city is around AUD449.


Located in Tasmania, the University of Tasmania is the only university in the city.

The average weekly cost of living in Hobart is AUD475.

Gold Coast 

Located in Queensland, there are three universities in this city. 

The weekly cost of living is roughly AUD482


Located in Queensland, Brisbane is the third-largest city in Australia. There are seven universities in this city.

The average weekly cost of living is AUD485.


Based in the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra is Australia’s national capital. There are five universities in Canberra.

The average weekly cost of living is AUD509.

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of A Student Visa In Australia?

International Students on an approved student visa can work in Australia

Although the cost of living for an international student in Australia is moderately expensive, there are some benefits the country provides to students to “sweeten the deal.”

International Students Are Allowed To Work In Australia

As part of your studies, the government allows up to 20 working hours in a week (or 40 fortnightly). However, you can work unlimited time during the semester holidays.

This work schedule allows students to earn up to AUD35/hour. While you need enough in your account to get a student visa, the extra you make while working will help you acquire some creature comforts.

Don’t forget you’ll also need to pay taxes on what you earn.

Study Sponsorships Are Available To International Students

The various universities (and other tertiary education facilities), businesses, and government institutions (among others) offer many bursaries to qualifying international students. 

There are roughly 85 bursaries and scholarships.

Some bursaries include:

  • Charles Sturt scholarship – 20% of fee discounted for new international students.
  • Australia Awards Scholarships (AAS) – these scholarships may cover up to 100% of tuition.
  • Research Training Program (RTP) – funding for research masters and doctorates.

Students who complete studies on scholarships or bursaries often need to work for a specific period after graduating to repay the “student loan.”

Once Qualified, You Can Stay And Work In Australia 

Once you’ve finished your studies, there might be an opportunity to continue working in Australia.

Student visas are usually valid for slightly longer than your course; however, you’ll need to apply for a new work visa before your student visa expires. 

These visas include:

  • Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485)- if you’re a bachelor, master’s, or doctorate graduate, you may qualify for the post-study work stream of this visa.
  • You can apply to the Australian Government’s Skill Select, stating your Expression of Interest to work in a professional environment.
  • Once qualified, you can apply for State and territory government nomination for skilled and business migration.


The living costs in Australia vary from major cities to cheap cities but basic expenses are manageable for students on visas

While studying in Australia is comparable to many European countries, several factors influence a student’s cost of living and other expenses, including their accommodation, transportation, where and what they study, and the institution.

To qualify for a student visa, you will need at least AUD 21, 041 for living expenses plus round-trip airfare to and from your home country and health insurance coverage, and at least one year of tuition fees.