Low Tuition in Australia: Tuition, Cost of Living and Financial Aid

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What is the cost of studying on cheap tuition in Australia? If you are keen on studying in Australia, one of the most important things to look at is how much everything is going to cost. This article will break down the cost of every aspect of university life to ensure that you have all your questions answered. 

Be informed that costs and exchange rates are correct at the time of publication and may vary over time. 

Tuition fees

Australia is a popular study abroad destination for university study but,just like the UK and the US, it is also one of the most expensive places to study abroad.

However, since region differ across the country,it is worth exploring all avenues before ruling out the possibility of studying on low tuition in Australia. To give context, international students are able to pay their fees well in advance before the term starts, which helps with budgeting and planning during the school year.

On average, an international undergraduate student studying in Australia is required to pay $29,235 per year (note that all figures quoted are in Australian dollars), or £17,152. Undergraduate degrees last between three and four years in Australia, therefore an international student will complete a three-year degree with $87,705 (£51,456) of student debt in tuition fees.

A master’s course will costs $20,000-37,000 (£11,734-21,708), with a doctoral degree going from $14,000 to $37,000 (£8,213-21,707).

Note that veterinary and medical programs cost considerably more than this amount. For example, at the Australian National University in 2017, a degree in an arts program cost $32,640 (£19,150) per year and a BSc in a science subject was roughly $43,632 (£25,599) per year.

It is interesting to note that tuition fees in Australia are generally calculated per unit, rather than per year. Most students will be doing a combination of units from different bands and each unit will have a different band and costing – so all students will be paying different amounts each year.

As it is in many other countries, local students will pay far less to study in Australia than international students. The University of Melbourne, for example, says the cost of a master’s in psychiatry is $18,080 (£10,607) per year, and about $54,880 (£32,198) for a doctorate in veterinary medicine. Tuition charged local students are subsidised by the government, and many are eligible to apply for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).

Accommodation Expenses

Accommodation expenses vary considerably, depending on the type of program and region: rural regions, such as western and northern Australian states, will be much cheaper, whereas more urban places, for example regions around Sydney, will cost more, particularly if you live further down.

On-campus accommodation will cost $90-280 (£52-164) per week, a homestay is $235-325 (£137-190) per week and shared rental accommodation will go for $85-215 (£50-126) per week. Australian universities usually recommend $18,000-28,000 (£10,560-16,427) per annum. 

Other essential student Expenses

Rented spaces may have some of the utility costs included. If they do not, the average gas and electricity bill will go for $50-100 (£29-58) a month, phone and internet (typically in a single package) is $150-200 (£88-117) a month and the equivalent of a council tax bill (water/sewerage/waste management) is $50 (£29) a month split between tenants.

In order to obtain a visa for studying in Australia, you will need to prove you have $19,830 (£11,634) per year for living expenses alone, to cover one to two years. Student visas can be as high as $560 (£328). Do well to check the terms of a student visa, because some types do not allow students to work while they study.

It is mandatory to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), which will costs the average undergraduate student $2,164.17 (£1,269) for a period of three years.

You may also be charged a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) in addition to tuition fees – a non-academic charge that takes care of services and support programmes that can be enjoyed by all students. This varies across universities and regions, but is typically $294 (£172) per academic year. 

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You will be required to prove that you have booked a return airfare to your home country at the end of the degree program. 

Keep aside a budget for books and academic supplies, estimated at $500-1,000 (£293-586) per year.

Some institutions provide a private transport free of charge for students to get around and there are several discount programmes depending on the state (Queensland, South Australia and Melbourne all provide subsidised transport for students). 

Without a discount, a monthly public transport would go for $30-70 (£30-41) and a one-way ticket is roughly $4 (£2.35). Bicycles are equally a popular mode of transport in the urban university areas, in Melbourne in particular. A litre of petrol, on average, costs $1.31 (77p).

What financial aid is available

You will find tons of scholarships and grants available for international students, but they are limited in supply. These scholarships are usually available to postgraduate students rather than undergraduate students – although in recent times this imbalance is slowly shifting. These scholarships are awarded based on academic merit rather than financial need.

Most of these scholarships are awarded directly by the universities themselves, and these will be shown on their websites.

You will find several well-established scholarship opportunities available for international students: the Australia Awards, is funded and awarded by the Australian government and covers full tuition fees, flight expenses and additional living costs; the APEC Women in Research Fellowship Program, awards financial support to female researchers who hail from developing APEC economies who intend to pursue a research programme, which partners with Australian universities; and the Endeavour Postgraduate Awards, providing support to international students enrolling in an MA or PhD degree.

You should definitely apply for an ISIC card, as living costs and entertainment options are pricey in Australia. This card is an internationally recognized proof of your student status, and will costs $30 (£17.60) and offers a 20% percent off at restaurants and cafes, cinema tickets from $11.50, 5 per cent off groceries, fuel and alcohol and 40 per cent off international flights.

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