The Iglu Guide | Blog

The Cost Of Living In Melbourne For International Students

With over one third of Melbourne’s population born overseas, this fantastic city is a melting pot of cultural diversity and the perfect place for any international student to call home. With beaches one way, and stunning landscapes the other, Melbourne really does have it all. But like the rest of the world, it’s no stranger to the rising cost of living, and students are finding it increasingly difficult to make Melbourne an affordable option.

Why set up your student home in Melbourne?

International students are all drawn to Melbourne’s laid-back lifestyle, high standard of living and enduring love of sport. Consistently ranked in the liveability index as one of the top 10 cities in the world, Melbourne enjoys a well-earned reputation for providing a top-class education and enviable infrastructure along with a safe and secure environment. But as global living costs put pressure on every household bill around the world, it’s important to consider how Melbourne’s cost of living might impact international students arriving in the city. From student accommodation and household groceries through to heating and transport, if you’re planning to study and live in Melbourne, here’s what every international student needs to know.

Melbourne cost of living – the breakdown

Tuition fees

Along with student housing, tuition fees are going to be your biggest expense as an international student living and studying in Melbourne. Universities are actually in charge of setting their own fees, and higher-ranking institutions tend to have higher fees in place. They’re usually calculated out by course unit, so the cost will also vary by course choice, degree level and university. Although course fees have been on the rise over the past few years, international students can breathe a small sigh of relief as with the rate of inflation heading above 8%, this is unlikely to continue. Don’t forget to factor in buying all your textbooks and stationary needs on top of your course fees.

What can I expect to pay a year?

Course fees range between $25,500 and $49,600 for a bachelor’s degree, and between $24,000 and $49,500 for a Master’s.

These do not include medical or veterinary degrees which can be significantly more expensive.

Student accommodation costs

With the cost of rent rapidly rising, affordable student accommodation is difficult to find. Many international students prefer to live on campus or in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) so that they have the option to integrate into a readymade student community. With the rising cost of living in Melbourne, off-campus student accommodation is definitely a cheaper option – and cheaper again if students are prepared to travel further to get in and out of university. Students should always consider the wider impact of each scenario, such as any inclusions, additional travel costs or safety of travel. If a gym is important to your wellbeing, this may be included in your student accommodation and save you extra money. If you enjoy an active social life – a student community on tap is much cheaper than going out and spending money. If you’re concerned about rising utility costs, it’s reassuring to have your budget protected with one weekly bill.

What can I expect to pay?

On-campus accommodation costs: $400 per week
Iglu Student Accommodation in Melbourne: From $419 per week (including bills).
Shared rental: $420-$450 per week

Food and entertainment

The cost of living for students has gone up around the world, and Melbourne is no exception. But at least this makes it no better and no worse than any other city as a place for international students to settle. Students can save money by combining budgets for certain household items, taking advantage of bulk buy offers and buying high-energy nutritious foods that will see you well through to the next mealtime. Beat Melbourne’s rising cost of living by cooking healthy meals that won’t break the bank, target those student-friendly restaurants and bars offering budget-friendly deals, and learn how to make your own fun with friends that doesn’t cost a cent. Stock up the pantry and freezer with canned and frozen veggies to save some extra money and still get your five healthy serves a day.

What can I expect to pay?

The University of Melbourne recommends that students should budget between $140-$280 every week for food items and eating out.

Many restaurants and bars have weekly student deals on offer, and students can also save money at the cinema by heading out to the cheap student nights that usually run early in the week.

Student travel costs

If you’re living in student accommodation in central Melbourne, you can easily walk, bike or take the free tram around the city centre. If your student housing is outside the city centre, you are likely to need a myki card to get around the city. The myki card is your ticket to ride on trains, trams and buses in Melbourne and beyond. And whilst the odd journey doesn’t add up to much, over a week it can really burden the budget just travelling in and out of the city. Stick to the free options where you can and take the pressure off your other outgoings.

What can I expect to pay?

Myki card cost upfront (expires after 4 years): $6 adult; concession $3
One day’s unlimited travel: $6.70 adult; $3.35 concession
Weekly pass: $46 adult; $23 concession

Health and wellbeing

Looking after your health and wellbeing should still be high up on your priority list, despite Melbourne’s rising living costs. But when the budget really bites and something has to give, it’s time to look for some cheap and easy alternatives. Instead of hitting the gym, check out some bedroom-based work-out videos, or hit the road in your runners and explore your new home. Jump on a bike and check out the many cycleways that criss-cross the city, or head out on a walking tour through Melbourne’s hidden streets. There’s plenty of ways for students to keep active that won’t cost a cent.

What can I expect to pay?

Melbourne CBD gyms can cost between $17-$65 per week
Choose student accommodation that includes access to a gym to save money.

*All costs approximate as at June 2023

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