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How Much Does it Cost to Study in Australia?

How Much Does it Cost to Study in Australia? main image

A recent HSBC report announced that the cost of study in Australia is higher than in any other country. However, Australia also boasts the world’s highest concentration of international students; around 20% of the country’s higher education enrolments are international, compared to the global average of around 7%. Clearly, despite the high costs, Australia continues to remain a highly attractive choice – due to its high quality of life, leading universities, great student cities, impeccable healthcare and more.

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There is also good news for prospective students; thanks to drop in the Australian dollar this year, you’re now likely to get more Aussie dollars in exchange for your home currency.

The HSBC report says the average cost per year of study in Australia for international students is AU$42,093 (~US$32,950). This breaks down to AU$24,081 (US$18,850) for fees and AU$18,012 (US$14,100) for living costs. However, tuition fees at Australian universities will vary considerably depending on where and what you study, and the level you will be studying at.

Read on for a breakdown of these costs and for advice on how to find Australian scholarships to support your studies.

Tuition fees and course costs for international students

According to Study in Australia, the official government site for international students, typical annual tuition fees for international students are:

    • Bachelor’s degree – AU$15,000 (US$11,750) to AU$33,000 (US$25,800);
    • Master’s degree – AU$20,000 (US$15,650) to $37,000 (US$28,900);
    • Doctoral degree – AU$14,000 (US$10,950) to $37,000 (US$28,900).

These figures do not include high-value courses such as veterinary or medical degrees, which can cost significantly more.

Tuition fees at Australian universities are generally calculated per unit, not per year. Each unit falls into a fee band, and as most students will be studying a combination of units from different bands, fees will be different for everybody.

Some universities in Australia publish official fees estimates, including Australian National University (ANU), which is the nation’s highest-ranked institution (25th in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15). The yearly cost of an international undergraduate degree from ANU ranges from AU$28,608 (US$22,350) for many Bachelor of Arts programs, up to AU$33,168 (US$25,900) for Bachelor of Science or Medical Science programs.

For graduate degree programs, annual fees start from AU$28,608 (US$22,200) for a few master’s programs and reach up to AU$36,528 (US$28,350). However, the majority of master’s programs are priced somewhere in the middle at around AU$33,200 (US$25,800).

PhD programs are priced similarly, with the majority at the higher end of the scale at AU$36,528 (US$28,350). In a league of its own, however, ANU’s Doctorate of Medicine and Surgery degree (MChD) costs AU$65,712 (US$51,000).

Another cost to consider is the Student Services and Amenities fee, which is a charge for services and amenities of a non-academic nature, up to a maximum of AU$286 (US$222) in 2015. Not all universities in Australia charge this, but make sure you know what to expect.

Tuition fees and course costs for domestic students

As with many other places around the world, it’s cheaper to study in Australia for domestic students, especially those who successfully apply for a Commonwealth supported place, which means study costs are largely subsidized by the government. Commonwealth supported places are available at all public universities in Australia and some – but not all – private ones.

Student contribution amounts vary depending on where and what you study, but are capped by the government. The government sets the minimum and maximum range for each fee band, which, for 2015, is AU$0-6,152 (US$4,770) for Band 1; AU$0-8,768 (US$6,800) for Band 2; and AU$0-10,266 (US$7,960) for Band 3.

You will need to work out your total tuition fees by identifying which subjects/units are covered by each band, and how many credits (expressed as a fraction, e.g. 12/96 = 0.125 EFTSL) you get for each unit. Multiply this EFTSL figure (0.125) by the band fee charge to get the total cost per unit. For example, a Bachelor of Science student in 2015 might enroll in eight units, six of which are science-related (Band 2) and two of which are humanities-related (Band 1). If each unit is worth 12.5 credits, this would work out to AU$8,114 (US$6,290) for the year. Or, alternatively, you can just use the online calculator that most institutions provide!

Tuition fees for domestic graduate students are worked out in a similar way. Some institutions publish estimates of the yearly fee for graduate students. For example the University of Melbourne (ranked 2nd in Australia and 33rd in the world) lists prices for 2015 ranging from AU$12,192 (US$9,450) per year for a performance arts master’s degree, up to AU$48,192(US$37,360) for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Some graduate programs also offer Commonwealth-assisted places, so check with the institution.

Unlike international students, domestic students are eligible for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). There are five types of government loans available to Australian citizens and permanent humanitarian visa holders. HECS-HELP is a scheme which helps Commonwealth supported students to pay their student contribution amount; FEE-HELP covers tuition fees for fee-paying students; SA-HELP pays the student services and amenities fee; OS-HELP pays some overseas study expenses; and VET-HELP pays for vocational education and training fees.

Australian scholarships and fellowships

The Australia Awards are international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian government, available to nationals and citizens from eligible countries. The list of eligible countries is extensive, covering the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific area and Asia.

The Australia Awards Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are mainly for postgraduate-level study and research. Out of the four funds available for international applicants, one is a short-term research fellowship for graduates and postgraduates (maximum award of AU$24,500 for studies of up to six months), one is for professional development (maximum award of AU$18,500 for up to four months) and one is for vocational education and training for a diploma or associate’s degree (VET) offering up to AU$6,500 per semester for up to two and a half years (maximum award AU$131,000).

International graduate students looking to gain funding for a full master’s or PhD program should apply for the Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship, which offers up to AU$15,000 per semester for a duration of up to two years for master’s students and four years for PhD students (maximum award AU$140,500 for master’s, AU$272,500 for PhD).

It is recommended that you apply early for all Australian scholarships and fellowships. Applications for funding in 2016 are open until 30 June 2015, and applications will reopen for 2017 funding early in 2016.

If you’re a graduate student from the UK, you can apply for the Northcote Graduate Scholarship from the Britain-Australia Society. This funds for your travel there and back, tuition fees and charges, and also provides a basic allowance for three years while you study.

For all undergraduate and postgraduate students, check with the Australian universities you are interested in, as many offer scholarships open to both domestic and international students at both levels. For more funding opportunities, visit our list of scholarships to study in Australia.

Students’ cost of living in Australia

Although HSBC calculates the average cost of living in Australia to be AU$18,012 (US$14,100) per year, the Australian government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) puts a much more specific figure on the costs for international students. In order to be eligible to study in Australia, you will need to show you have AU$18,610 (US$14,430) per year. If you’re bringing a partner add AU$6,515 (US$5,050) to this figure. And if you have children, you’ll need to show you have an additional AU$3,720 (US$2,880) for one child and AU$2,790 (US$2,160) for every additional child.

As well as proof of these funds, you will also need to show you have return air fare for yourself and every family member you take with you, and AU$8,000 (US$7,471) per year for any children aged 5-18 to cover school fees.

Although the above outlines the amount required by Australia’s immigration standards, you may not need to spend that much once you arrive. The official Study in Australia guidelines recommend budgeting between AU$70 (US$55) and AU$400 (US$310) per week for accommodation, depending on whether you stay in shared accommodation (the cheapest), on campus, or in private rented accommodation (the most expensive).

Other weekly expenses include: groceries and eating out from AU$80 to AU$200 (US$60 to US$155); gas and electricity from AU$60 to AU100 (US$45 to US$77); phone and internet from AU$20 to AU$50 (US$15 to US$40); public transport from AU$10 to AU$50 (US$7 to US$40); and entertainment from AU$50 to AU$100 (US$40 to US$80).

To simplify, this works out to a minimum of around AU$300 (US$230) per week.

Most Australian universities provide detailed breakdowns of the cost of living in Australia on their websites, including student accommodation and sometimes even local area prices and advice. For example, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (304th in the world rankings), offers a handy ‘Shopping Smarter’ page with links and tips for discounted shopping.

Remember the costs listed by the university will usually be for an academic year (about 40 weeks), rather than a calendar year, so you will need to budget extra if you want to stay longer.

Student visa costs for Australia

There are many different kinds of student visas for Australia, ranging in price from nil to AU$535 (US$415) for most options. The DIBP provides all the information you need on prices and types.

As a visa requirement, you will need to organize Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for yourself and any accompanying family members, which needs to be valid for the duration of your stay. You don’t have to use the provider that your university recommends, but whichever you choose, ensure that it is government-approved – there are currently only five that fulfill international student visa requirements.

OSHC Australia provides a search function which can be used to compare quotes for medical insurance from authorized providers. We found the cheapest option for a standard undergraduate student (duration three years, starting in March and finishing in December) with no accompanying family to be AU$1,711 (US$1,330). The most expensive was AU$2,462 (US$1,910). Reducing the timescale to a year (master’s degrees are usually between one and two years) brought up a cheapest quote of AU$418 (US$325), while two years would cost AU$901 (US$700).

As well as from showing evidence of OSHC insurance when you apply for a visa, DIBP also requires you to show evidence that you have access to sufficient funds before you leave, to cover the cost of living in Australia for the first one or two years.

This article was originally published in November 2013. It was updated in June 2015.

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Written by Jane Playdon
Jane Playdon is a TopUniversities.com author and blogger.

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34 Comments

Can some buddy tell me.can I earn my all expenses by doing part time job include my tuition fees.I am from Pakistan.please help me.

Hello, I'm afraid that you'll need to show evidence of already having sufficient funds for your tuition fees/living costs for your student visa application. So although you can work part-time in Australia after you arrive, you shouldn't rely on part-time work to fund your expenses. 

Hi am ademola from nigeria please i want to apply for a diploma in australia and i want to know the steps to take tank you

Hi... I'm from Pakistan and currently doing my bachelor in accounting & finance and interested in doing MBA from Australia. So, can anyone tell me what are the admission requirements? and is it possible to apply for the admission from Pakistan?

Hello, application requirements vary but for an MBA in Australia you'll typically need a bachelor's degree, the required level of English proficiency (proved by an English language test if you're not a native speaker), a strong GMAT result, relevant work experience, a personal statement, references and a CV. You can find out more about studying an MBA in Australia on our sister site, TopMBA.com. Hope this helps.

hi, does anyone know would british citizens be considered as commonwealth domestic for the Australian university fees purposes?

Hi Svetlana, British citizens would be classed as international students at Australian universities and will need to pay international tuition fees. 

hi I just wanna ask how can I fund my phd degree in Australia I live abroad and I am saving money but not enough for international fees , is it possible to amit for a loan once am there if am an international student?? One more question please how much money it is required to have to showcase to authorities when applying for phd stuying visa? and thankyou

Hi Dania, maybe take a look at scholarships for studying in Australia? These should help you with fees: https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/scholarship-advice/international-scholarships-study-australia

hi I'm from Sri Lanka and have a BSc first class degree in maths. like to start MSc in australia with full scholarship.

Hi Kalhari, please take a look at our list of scholarships to study in Australia. You might also like to download our complete guide on how to study abroad in Australia. :)

Hi , I am from India. Can anyone tell which is the cheap universities in australia and what is fees per month for Bachelor and master degree. Thanks.

Hi,
I'm Chanukya interested to studying Masters Degree in computer science in Australia I need to know about tuition fee

Hi,
I'm Sani interested to studying Bachelors Degree in computer science in Australia I need to know about tuition fee

Hi Sani. Our guide to studying abroad in Australia should help you get started.

Hi ,
I'm a mechanical engineer and now I'm working in project management company. I'm interested in studying in Australia. But I don't know which university is best (lowest tuition fee) for me. Please help

Hello, I'm afraid I'm not sure on which Australian universities have the lowest tuition fees, but I can point you in the direction of our list of scholarships to study in Australia. Hope this helps!

hi,
I want to apply for australia for my bachelors degree.
Iam nepalese and married to a french last year,currently living in france but I dont know if i can apply from here or have to go back nepal ?

im interested in studying at monash university.
since i'm from India the fee seems a bit high?well... can i do part time jobs which are not too basic for an undergradute student.

Hi Ajay, if you would like to support yourself with a part-time job while in Australia, you will have permission to work included with your visa. You can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session and unlimited hours in the holidays. Also, you can't commence work until you have started your course. Hope this helps.

this is not really accurate lol i searched more than 20 schools and courses and all are at least 30,000-40,000 ... so much for 15-33k

Hi Johan. Thanks for sharing your experience. The guidelines given above are based on those provided by the Australian government. But as your experience demonstrates, there is a lot of variation depending on the type of course and the institution.

Does the age really matter to enter the college? 'Cause I'm only 16 years old turning to17. We only have 4 years in high school

Hi Angelica, as long as you hold the right high-school qualifications/grades being asked for, your age shouldn't effect your eligibility at most universities. Do check on the school's websites for exact information however on this however. L :)

Hi, I came from Philippines and I want to study in Australia. I'm 16 years old turning to 17 in September. Does the age really matter to enter in college or is it necessary to add 2 years in high school? 'Cause in our country, we don't have K-12 curriculum yet that means, we have only 4-year in high school.

Hi, I want to study in Australia,how can i get full scholarship?

Hi Madhra, have you taken a look at our article International Scholarships to Study in Australia? Your chosen university is also very likely to offer funding to students with financial need, so make sure to look on university websites for information on scholarships and funding. For guidelines on finding and applying to scholarships, see our FAQ. Good luck, Laura

Wow interesting but the fee is too much

how can i apply for university in Australia and how can i get full scholarship in Australia
because i'm not from a richer family

<p>There are times that we encounter the hardness of life emotionally, spiritually and sometimes financially. During financial constraints we have lots of choices however some of it is complicated. The best way, there are still good people who are willing to help other during this tough circumstance. On top of that, eliminating payday cash advances would mean many people would end up with no way to get help once in a while.&nbsp;</p>

Please what is the tuition fee or summary fee for an Architectural student for the first year, for postgraduates(master level)

Hi Arenibafo. It will depend which university you choose to study at. To find out more about some of Australia's leading universities, you can search by location in the latest QS World University Rankings: https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2013 Then click on each university to find out more.

What the tuition fees. For law undergratue

<p>This iis a useful article but it&#39;s important to note that costs also occur when a student is close to completing the degree and wants to work full time in Australia. On such a 485 visa they will need 485 visa health insurance. Medibank may also be applicable but this can&#39;t be applied for till after studdying so OHSC as stated above will be required.</p>