Most affordable universities in Australia for international students: academic and non-academic costs

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Anand Patinge

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Australia has become one of the most famous study abroad destinations for international students and justifiably so. The beautiful country offers world-class research opportunities, has great infrastructure, a competing curriculum and plenty of opportunities for employment. 

The downside?

It can burn a hole in your pocket. 

There are many factors that determine the cheapest universities in Australia for international students. We have listed all those costs.

Cost type Range covered in the article 
Colleges costs $15,500 – $47,000
City costs $2100/month – $2250/month
Other costs  $2620/year – $3250/year
OSHC cost  $478 – $529

We also have a list of the cheapest universities in Australia for international students.  As per UNISTUDYNEWS, here are the 13 cheapest universities in Australia for international students. 

  • University of Melbourne
  • The Australian National University
  • University of Sunshine Coast
  • University of Southern Queensland
  • Western Sydney University
  • Federation University Australia
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Victoria University
  • Griffith University
  • University of Newcastle
  • University of Tasmania
  • University of Wollongong
  • Flinders University
Cheapest universities in Australia for international students City Undergraduate fees  Graduate fees Popular courses
University of Melbourne Melbourne $37,200 $44,700 Top ranked courses Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Biology and Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology, Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems, Cell Biology, Chemical Engineering
Australian National University Canberra $35,200 $43,700 Popular colleges – medicine, biology and environment, engineering and computer science, arts, and social sciences.
University of Sunshine Coast Sunshine Coast $18,500 $38,000 Study areas – Arts and International Studies, Business and Commerce, Communication, Creative Industries, Design, Education, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Law and Criminology, Medical and Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery
University of Southern Queensland Toowoomba $15,500 $18,000 Popular courses – business, education, law and arts, health, engineering and sciences, indigenous studies, and education
Western Sydney University Sydney $26,800 $30,200 Schools – engineering, design and built environment, Business, Computing, Data, and mathematical sciences, Education, Law, Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery, Social Science & Psychology, Science & Health, Humanities, and communication arts, and graduate research school.
Federation University Australia Ballarat, Victoria $17,335 $37,000 Programs – Humanities, Engineering, Business, Science, Math, Nursing, Midwifery, Paramedicine, Psychology, Performing or Visual Arts, Information Technology, Occupational Health, and Physical Education
Charles Darwin University Darwin $17,000 $47,000 Offers vocational and university courses in the areas of Business & Law, Education, Engineering & IT, Health & Human Science, Indigenous Society, and Nursing & Midwifery.
Victoria University Victoria $25,000 $29,000 Colleges – College of Art & Education, Business, Engineering & Science, Health & Biomedicine, Law & Justice, or Sports & Exercise Science
Griffith University South East Queensland $28,000 $32,000 Programs – science and environment, humanities, languages and social sciences, engineering, IT and Aviation, Business and government, Architecture.
University of Newcastle Newcastle  $30,000 $37,000 Programs – education, humanities, social science, and the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM), and nursing and health
University of Tasmania Hobart $27,000 $31,000 Majors – Business and law, Creative arts and design, Earth, sea, Antarctic and environment, education, humanities, and social sciences, health and medicine and science, technology and engineering.
University of Wollongong Wollongong $30,000 $47,000 Programs – Business, Engineering & Information Science, Law & Humanities, Science & Medicine, and Social Science.
Flinders University Adelaide $29,200 $34,000 Leader in research, an innovator in contemporary education, and the source of Australia’s most enterprising graduates.

Unsure of how to pick between the cheapest universities in Australia for international students? This article also breaks down other costs that will help you make the decision. Or, you can just visit SelectRight. SelectRight uses 6 million data points across programs to give you transparent and unbiased recommendations on programs as per your requirements.

Cheapest cities for international students

More often than not, students forget that there are costs beyond tuition. While you are deciding upon the cheapest universities in Australia for international students, there are several other city-specific costs that you need to consider like:

  • Accommodation 
  • Groceries
  • Utilities
  • Entertainment 
  • Public Transport
  • Cell phone

1. City of Adelaide

City of Adelaide

This is the 5th largest city in the country also known as the food and wine capital. It is also home to one of the cheapest universities in Australia for international students, Flinders.

The estimated cost of living in Adelaide is 2100 AUD/month.

Estimated Weekly Costs:

Affordable universities in Australia for international students University of South Australia, Flinders University
Cheapest Single Accommodation $250
Groceries $97
Utilities $50
Leisure $15
Public Transport $25
Cell phone plan $3

2. Cairns

Cairns

Situated in northern Queensland, the city is known to be the gateway to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.

The estimated living costs are 2125 AUD/month.

Estimated Weekly Costs:

Affordable universities in Australia for international students Central Queensland University
Cheapest Single Accommodation $290
Groceries $125
Utilities $70
Leisure $25
Ticket for Public Transport $27
8 mbps internet  $16

3. Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast

Just north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is the third cheapest city to live in Australia.

The estimated living costs are 2175 AUD/month.

Estimated weekly costs:

Affordable universities in Australia for international students University of Sunshine Coast
Cheapest Single Accommodation $300
Groceries $122
Utilities $50
Leisure $30
Public Transport $25
Internet  $20

4. Geelong

Geelong

Geelong, Victoria’s Second City, is arguably best known in Australia as a sports-crazy nation since it is the home of the renowned Aussie Rules team.

Estimated living costs are still cheap at 2175 AUD/month.

Affordable universities in Australia for international students Deakin University
Cheapest Single Accommodation $350
Groceries $150
Utilities $75
Leisure $40
Public Transport $45
Internet $20

5. Perth

Perth

Perth is especially recommended for artists and art enthusiasts. The city is a leading center for arts and culture with a vibrant music scene as well as a wide range of theaters and galleries.

The living costs are 2200 AUD/month.

Affordable universities in Australia for international students Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University 
Cheapest Single Accommodation $400
Groceries $95
Utilities $55
Leisure $57
Public Transport $125
Internet $20

6. Darwin

Darwin

Darwin is a young, energetic, regional town with one of the highest employment rates in the nation, making it the perfect place for students to find employment. You won’t be surrounded by skyscrapers in this city, which is ideal for students who enjoy a laid-back atmosphere, but there are still lots of things to do on weekends and during vacations between semesters.

The living costs are 2250 AUD/month.

Affordable universities in Australia for international students Charles Darwin University
Cheapest Single Accommodation $450
Groceries $104
Utilities $49
Leisure $72
Public Transport $22
Internet  $22

7. Hobart

Hobart

The safest city in Australia and the region with the cleanest air is Hobart. 

Hobart residents are highly kind and pleasant, so you can tour the city and go around freely without worrying. 

The average cost of living in Hobart is around 2250 AUD/month. 

Affordable universities in Australia for international students University of Tasmania
Cheapest Single Accommodation $400-500
Groceries $100
Utilities $66
Leisure $57
Public Transport $20
Internet  $10

The costs mentioned above are approximate. Costs will vary depending on the source you refer to. This is because different sources will have different brackets of what falls into groceries, leisure and utilities. These costs will greatly affect your choice of the cheapest universities in Australia for international students. 

Hence, we recommend that you go to SelectRight. The platform will calculate the total cost that you will be required to pay for your program based on your specific needs. This includes tuition fees, living expenses and miscellaneous expenditure. It’s like having Ramanujan crunch the numbers for you, so you go to a massive-RoI university. 

Hobart

The accommodation prices can vary greatly depending on the kind of accommodation you have taken. The prices listed above are for a single person accommodation. You can find shared rooms for students like a hostel which would be considerably cheaper than a single room. A shared room should come around $185-$300.

If you don’t plan on moving into a dorm room, you will also have to plan for initial set up costs. Some dorm rooms will also ask for a deposit which would typically be advance rent. 

Initial establishment cost

Rental bond $760- $1,200
2 weeks rent in advance $370- $600
Electricity, gas & telephone $260 – $510
Household items (furniture, linen etc.) $680 – $740
Approximate total cost $2,070 – $3,050

Often students choose accommodation that is far away from their universities to cut down on accommodation costs. If you plan on doing the same, calculate how much extra you would have to spend on accommodation to decide if it is worth it. 

Other costs that determine the cheapest universities in Australia for international students

Apart from these basic costs, there are other academic and non-academic costs that you will have to incur.

These costs are usually the same across the university. However, you  can find more detailed costs at your university.

Text books $1,320 per annum
Clothing $200 – $280 per 6 months
Haircut $15 – $75 per month
Shoes $60 – $100 per 6 months
Doctor’s (GP) consultation fee $50 – $80 per month (1 visit per month)
Infant child care $133 – $147 per day

Overseas Student Health Cover

You have to obtain OSHC for the proposed duration of your student visa. The provider you select will determine the cheapest universities in Australia for international students.

Medibank $516
ahm Health Cover $478
Bupa $516
nib $479
Allianz Global Assistance $529

When you are picking a college it is not enough to pick the highest ranked university. You also need to think about the financial liability you are shouldering. This guide of the cheapest universities in Australia for international students will help you pick an affordable option. 

We know all this can be a lot. 

Overseas Student Health Cover

With SelectRight, you can share the burden with experts. They won’t just shortlist  the cheapest universities in Australia for international students but help you find the best university. 

Picture of Anand Patinge

Anand Patinge

A master storyteller, Anand has enriched multiple entities with captivating designs, compelling messaging, and impactful media campaigns. Beyond work, you can find him feeding stray dogs, exploring art, and watching insiprational documentaries.

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