Cost of living

Some costs to consider when studying in Sydney.

Female student putting on headphones in front of Sydney harbour skyline

If you're living abroad or out of home for the first time, managing your expenses is an important skill to master. You don’t want to be worried about running out of money while trying to focus on your studies! So, before you join us, it’s important to think about the costs of living and studying in Sydney, even if you’ve got support from back home.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs requires students to have the financial capacity to cover living costs of at least $24,505 per year (not including course fees). This means that you will need approximately $2,100 per month for accommodation, food, utilities and entertainment. These cost allocations are intended as a guide only and will vary greatly dependant on an individual's spending habits, and lifestyle choices.

These costs do not factor in things like program tuition fees, required textbooks, public transport or medical expenses. It is important to consider pre arrival costs such as Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) as well as your student visa and initial flights when budgeting for your Sydney stay.

As a good starting point, we recommend having a further $4,000 outside the $24,505 to cover initial upon arrival costs of items including textbooks, rental bond, should it be required, airport transfer costs and other settling expenses.

All prices mentioned are in Australian Dollars (AUD).

Budget accordingly

When creating a budget, we recommend considering the following basic expenses

  • Accommodation, dependant on where you chose to live your accommodation expenses will vary
  • Sydney public transport, it is important to budget for getting to and from campus and around your local area. You can use an Opal card to access public transport, your Opal card be ordered online or purchased at select retailers. If you are a full-time student, you may be eligible for concessions, contact student services for more information.
  • Groceries
  • Education expenses, including your textbooks, suitable devices and headphones
  • Utilities, like electricity bills
  • Mobile phone and home internet providers
  • Entertainment and social activity expenses
  • Dining out
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), this is an Australian visa requirement for international students joining us to study in Australia 

The Australian Government Website Study in Australia provides a guide of indicative education and living costs that you can use as a starting point for possible general expenses associated with living and studying in Sydney.

    • On campus - $349 to $624 per week
    • Homestay - $350 to $450 per week
    • Rental - $250 to $700 per week

    Renting privately can often be more affordable and flexible, depending on where and what you rent. Costs can range from $250–$350 AUD per student, per week in a shared house or apartment.

    • Groceries and eating out - $100 to $275 per week

    • Gas, electricity - $40 per week  

    • Phone and Internet - $25 to $35 per week  

    • Public transport - $50 per week   

    • Car (after purchase) - $150 to $260 per week 

    • Entertainment and social activity expenses - $80 to $150 per week

    • Fast Food Meal - $10 to $15
    • Dining out - $20 to $40
    • Cup of barista made Coffee $5.50
    • Monthly gym membership $50 to $60
  • As a general guide DHA provides the following indicative costs per spouse and or dependant accompanying you to Australia for the duration of your studies.

    • For spouse (partners) coming with you an additional $7,362
    • For a dependant (child) coming with you an additional $3,152 not including school age children tuition fees

    Students wishing to bring children and/or their spouse (dependants) will need to consider

    • Visas
    • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
    • Schooling

    School-age dependants

    All school-age dependants must attend school in NSW. Please note that school fees will apply to all school-age children.

Handy budgeting tools  

We recommend trying the following handy budget planning tool provided by the Australian Government website Money Smart to help estimate associated living costs.

The Insider Guides 'Cost of Living Calculator' is another useful, practical tool you can use to help estimate your cost of living while in Australia. 

Student discounts  

In some instances, your student ID card will offer discounts across a range of services, including public transport, monthly subscriptions and entertainment establishments for things like movie tickets.

3 ideas for making living and studying in Sydney more affordable

  1. Consider living in a share house. When you live in shared accommodation with multiple roommates, you’re able to split up your costs more easily. That means rent and utilities such as gas and electricity, internet and even some groceries are cheaper. As a bonus, you could make new friends and potentially find other students to study with. 
  2. Try to live close to campus. Sydney has fantastic public transport. But living within walking distance of UNSW can save you a few dollars and get you some extra exercise.
  3. Join clubs on campus. Joining clubs at UNSW Sydney can be a great way to have a lot of fun without spending much money. Check out the huge collection of clubs and organisations on campus today.  

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