A guide to student loans and funding for international students in Australia

By seeta.bhardwa@…, 4 January, 2023

Australia is a popular study destination for international students. In fact, it is the third most-popular destination, behind only the US and the UK. Tuition fees and living costs can vary greatly across the country, so it can be hard to know how to manage the big and little costs associated with studying abroad.

This guide provides an overview of the costs that you need to consider and how to go about finding the right options for you.

Tuition costs and how to fund them

Tuition fees for international students will vary between universities and academic courses. It is important to know how much your tuition fees will cost as soon as you decide to study in Australia. For classroom-based courses, tuition fees are about A$33,000 a year, and fees for lab-based courses can be roughly A$40,000 a year.

Students will also need to consider visa processing fees and the application fees that some institutions charge.

Students in Australia generally finance their tuition fees and living costs via one or a mixture of the following methods: family funding and support, student finance/loans, and/or working up to 40 hours per fortnight while in Australia.


Some scholarships are based on academic merit, while others are based on factors such as where you live, which subject you study and your financial circumstances.

There are various ways to find a scholarship that suits you, including through your university, by researching local organisations and companies or by speaking to an industry expert.

You can get in touch with your prospective university to find out what funding options are available. Scholarships involving tuition discounts generally range from 15 per cent to 25 per cent depending on the institution and the chosen course.

Even if you find a scholarship that only offers a small amount towards your tuition fees, students are able to stack up a variety of different scholarships to help lower costs.

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Applying for finance/student loans

International students have few onshore options when applying for finance/student loans once in Australia. Students intending to study in Australia must prove to the government that they have the financial means to pay their study and living costs before being granted a student visa.

Therefore, international students who require study loans generally apply for them in their home countries before arriving in Australia.

To obtain a visa for studying in Australia, applicants will need to prove that they have at least 12 months of course fees in a bank account, plus A$21,041 for living costs, and up to A$2,000 for travel costs. Alternatively, you can show that your parents or partner have funds of at least A$7,362 in the 12 months before your application. Applicants might also have to pay fees for health checks, police certificates and biometrics.

Be extremely careful and seek study loans only from reputable providers with reasonable interest rates in your home country. It is worthwhile to shop around and spend some time looking for the best deal.

Other expenses to consider

Before even arriving in Australia, many students can face surprise costs.


When moving abroad, students who travel with a large number of possessions (such as clothes, computers and books) can find themselves facing huge excess luggage charges at the airport. If you travel heavy, purchase excess baggage before arriving at the airport.

Before you get your visa to travel to Australia, the Australian government requires you to have a valid student health insurance policy. Health insurance costs can vary from provider to provider, so make sure you compare options at AECC Global or Health Insurance Now before you buy Australian health insurance.


Accommodation costs in Australia can vary greatly, depending on whether you decide to stay in private or university accommodation. It will also depend on which part of the country you choose to study in. Accommodation in bigger cities will cost more than in smaller towns.

It is worth exploring the accommodation options available and the variations in costs before you leave to study abroad.

You should consider whether you would like to rent an entire apartment or house by yourself or rent a room with other housemates. There are some great platforms in Australia to help you find accommodation and friendly, like-minded housemates, including Flatmates and Casita.


When choosing where to live, make sure you consider the cost of getting to your institution. Sometimes you can actually save money by spending more on rent and living closer to your campus than living further away and paying higher transport costs.

Public transport in Australia is generally very good (trains, buses and even trams) but it pays to check transport routes and costs and to consider carefully where you will live.

Cost of living

Living costs across Australia vary greatly. Sydney is perhaps Australia’s best-known city, but it is also the most expensive. Depending on where you live, you could find yourself paying the highest accommodation costs in the country.

On the other end of the spectrum is Hobart, one of the most affordable Australian cities for students. Accommodation costs in Hobart can be up to 25 per cent cheaper than some other Australian cities, making it much more affordable than Sydney or Melbourne.

However, it has a population of 250,000 people, whereas Sydney has almost 5 million people, so it depends on whether you would rather live in a bigger city or smaller urban area.

If you are interested in learning more about the costs associated with studying in Australia, you can speak to an AECC Global student counsellor today for free.


If you are an international student planning to study in Australia, use this guide to understand the different funding options available

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