Cost of living

You will have new and ongoing expenses during your time in Melbourne. Knowing the average living cost will help you prepare for life here, and organise a suitable budget for day to day life.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) advises that a single international student requires approximately AU$21,041 per year for living costs.  

These expenses are in addition to tuition and study fees, and include things like your accommodation, food, textbooks, transport and other costs that will crop up from time to time.

Living expenses vary according to your circumstances, such as the type of accommodation you choose, its location, the number of people you live with, and your lifestyle.

Student life can be expensive, and most people live on a limited income while they are studying.

Australian money.

Living costs

To help you understand what costs to expect, we have developed a sample weekly budget for you.

The following estimated costs are based on a single student living in shared accommodation (per May 2020)1:

Other lifestyle costs

  • Single Myki fare AU$2.25 (concession)

  • Restaurant meal AU$17-$30

  • Movie ticket AU$18.50 (concession)

Find out about other lifestyle costs in Melbourne.

Home set up costs

You should allow AU$3,000 - $5,000 to cover establishment expenses, such as bond payment, advance rent, furniture, and other household items. Some student apartments come fully furnished, but private rental accommodation often does not.

Costs for international students


In addition to living costs, you need to pay for study-related expenses, including tuition feesOverseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), and other fees associated with your course.

Costs for students with families

If you intend to bring your family, you should also account for their living expenses.

The Department of Home Affairs recommends that you budget at least the following annual living costs (estimated at May 2020):

  • for you - AU$21,041
  • for partners coming with you - AU$7,362
  • for a child coming with you - AU$3,152

If you have young children, you may be able to take advantage of the RMIT City Campus Childcare Centre.

School for your children

If your children are between 5 and 18 years old, and they will be in Australia for three months or more, they are required to be enrolled in school.

If you are a postgraduate research student, you are exempt from paying primary and secondary school fees at public schools.

For more information see the Victorian Public Schools International Students Program website.



Estimated figures accurate as at May 2020., 2020

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer