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Study in Australia as an overseas student: How to save, work and earn

International students need $71,641 per year to cover tuition and living expenses. Earn by taking advantage of the work permit that comes with a student visa. Read on for tips to save more.

Are you considering getting a university degree in Australia but need help figuring out how to get one?

Finder created this guide to help international students navigate options to live, work and study in Australia while saving money and making money at the same time.

How much does it cost to study in Australia?

Here's a breakdown of the cost of studying in Australia:

  • Tuition Fees:
    Undergraduate: $20,000 to $45,000 per year
    Postgraduate: $22,000 to $50,000 per year
  • Living Expenses: Approximately $21,041 per year (as of 2024)
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC): Approximately $50 per month
  • Miscellaneous Costs: Textbooks and other school materials

Keep in mind that the figures above are based on estimates only.

How to get your finances sorted as an overseas student in Australia

Budget setting

Work out a budget based on a $21,041 per year estimated living expense while attending uni, that is, roughly $1,700 to $2,000 per month.

Use this free student budget worksheet to track your expenses and stay within your budget.


Rent and basic utilities like energy, mobile plans, and broadband internet will likely eat up a big chunk of your budget. Compare the cost of rent and utilities across different cities.

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Living costs

Finder estimates the cost of groceries at $532.20 per person per month. That figure excludes eating out and food deliveries.

Cost of commuting around Sydney will set you back by $193 per month.

Movie tickets cost about $41, while streaming service varies by provider. Before you head out for the bar, check out how much you could save on alcohol cost.

Set aside a portion of your budget for buying books, school supplies and basic clothing, as well as extraordinary and unexpected expenses like personal emergencies.

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Get your banking set up

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Requirements to study in Australia

Get started on your journey by finding out the basic eligibility criteria overseas students must meet to study in Australia.

Typically, that includes educational requirements, English proficiency, proof of funding, character endorsement, certificate of good health, and overseas student health cover.

OSHC is a type of health insurance that helps cover medical expenses while you are in Australia. Securing an OSHC is mandatory for all international students and is also required when applying for a student visa.

Learn more about insurance for international students.

Find the best rates

Can you work on a student visa in Australia?

Yes, student visa holders are permitted to work in Australia.

As an overseas student, you can expand your uni education by getting real-life experiences. Taking on work that pays is one avenue for you to jumpstart and grow your professional career.

Earning a couple of dollars working on the side can help pay for your tuition and other living expenses such as rent, food, and transportation.

As a working student, your rights are protected.

Based on the current rate set by the Fair Work Commission, the national minimum wage is $23.23 per hour as of 1 July 2023. International working students are entitled to enjoy this rate or the rate prescribed by the Modern Awards as applicable.

How many hours can a student work in Australia? Typically, international students are allowed to work up to 40 hours every two weeks during the academic year. On breaks and public holidays, work hours are unrestricted.

Other than a valid student visa, international students who intend to work while studying will also need:

  • A Tax File Number (TFN). Working international students are required to pay taxes. To comply, you will need a TFN, a unique identification code assigned to every worker by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Visit the ATO website for more info.
  • Australian bank account. Employers would typically require you to have one to receive your wages. Find out more about Australian banks.

Thrive in Australia

Make the most of your student life in uni by managing your money well. Stay on top of your finances to breeze through uni while building wealth rather than compromising your future paying off student debt.

Learn more about life as an international student in Australia.

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Written by

Content Marketing Specialist

Margaux Diaz is Content Marketing Specialist at Finder. She supports the SEO team in content promotion and partnership building in the US and Australia. Prior to joining Finder, she managed health promotion and other social development projects for the United Nations and consulted for private non-profits, and government agencies. She has also written for publications and blogs in the health and wellness, beauty, fitness, non-profits, business, and finance spaces. See full bio

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