Living expenses

There are some common expenses that you may need to consider to settle in and live comfortably as a student in Australia. Please use the amounts provided as a guide only.

Initial set-up costs

When you first arrive, you need to budget approximately A$6,000 for the initial costs of establishing yourself in Melbourne. We also recommend you allow at least A$1,000 to buy a computer if you aren't bringing one with you.

Initial expenses may include:

  • public transport 
  • food and drink 
  • short-term accommodation  
  • first month’s rent (in advance) for long-term accommodation
  • bond for long-term accommodation (usually one month’s rent)  
  • textbooks and stationery
  • furniture and whitegoods (e.g. mini fridge, television)  

Accommodations within walking distance to the Hawthorn campus are generally more expensive, but you will have lower transport costs. Accommodations further away are more affordable, but transport costs can be higher. 

Ongoing costs

Besides the initial expenses of establishing yourself, the Department of Home Affairs suggests that student visa holders should budget at least A$24,505 each study year for living expenses.

We recommend that you budget at least A$25,000 – or more realistically around A$32,000 per year – depending on your living arrangements and lifestyle choices. These costs do not include tuition fees.

If you are bringing your family with you, you will also need a minimum of A$8,574 per year for your spouse and A$3,670 per year for each child (not including school fees and uniforms).

Want to calculate your cost of living?

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Banking in Australia

We recommend that you set up an Australian bank account, especially if you plan to work at a job or have money paid to you from overseas while you live in Australia.

Australia has a few major banks (e.g. ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac) and many smaller, independent banks. You should compare banks to see which is best for your personal needs before choosing where to open your account.

To open a bank account, generally you will need to bring:

  • Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and Letter of Offer from Swinburne
  • personal identification (e.g. passport, student visa and birth certificate)
  • proof of your current address and contact details
  • some money to deposit. 

If you intend to work in a paid job while you study in Australia, you will also need an Australian Tax File Number (TFN).

Accessing your money 

You can withdraw your money from automatic teller machines (ATMs) all over Australia. It is usually free from an ATM associated with your bank, but if you use another bank's ATM, you may be charged a fee.  

Most ATMs in Australia also accept international cards, so you can withdraw money using your credit or debit card from your home country. You may be charged fees to withdraw money from your home country account, so check with your home country bank before you arrive in Australia. 

Transferring money overseas or to Australia 

You can have money electronically transferred into your Australian bank account from overseas banks. 

To send money to another country, you will need to provide the banking details of the person you are sending the money to. Your Australian bank will electronically transfer the money from your account to their account. 

Fees and charges may apply for these services, so contact your bank for more information.

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