When you arrive in Australia, you’ll join over half a million international students from all around the world.
You will be part of the Australia Awards network of scholars, academics and alumni that will help you build valuable knowledge, skills and links both in Australia and around the world.
Awardees are responsible for their own financial management in Australia.
Within the first month of arrival, awardees receive a one-off Establishment Allowance (AUD 5,000) to help cover textbooks, rental bond and insurance.
In addition, awardees receive a Contribution to Living Expenses (CLE) payment every two weeks to help meet costs such as accommodation, transport, food, entertainment and communications.
This CLE entitlement starts on your first day in Australia and is paid in arrears (not in advance). It ends five days after your examination results are released if you are a coursework student or five days after you have submitted your thesis if you are a research student.
For more details on your entitlements refer to the scholarships policy handbook.
Living costs in Australia
Knowing the average living costs in Australia is an important part of your financial preparation and management. We encourage you to review the information available at Study In Australia.
Upon arrival in Australia, your institution will help you establish a bank account. Your scholarship entitlements will be deposited into this Australian account.
To open an account, you’ll need photographic identification, such as your passport or driver’s license. Once your account is established, you can register for internet banking and withdraw cash from automatic teller machines (referred to as ATMs).
In Australia, debit or credit cards are most commonly used instead of cash. This system is called EFTPOS or PayWave.
Should you require it, your institution can arrange temporary accommodation for when you first arrive in Australia.
Many institutions provide accommodation support services and this is a good starting point. They will be able to guide you on which suburbs are nearby and recommended for students.
If you’re on your own, the most convenient option may be on-campus accommodation. If this is of interest to you, we recommend you request it as early as possible with your student contact officer.
An alternative option is shared accommodation (boarding with a local family in their home, or sharing accommodation with other students). This is a good option for awardees who prefer company and are used to living with others.
If your family is joining you in Australia, renting a flat or private house may be the most suitable option. Identifying the right place, may take time and be expensive.
To prepare you for the cost of accommodation in your chosen city, please refer to the following rental websites:
Families and children
Awardees are responsible, including financially, for their family members who accompany them to Australia. The Australian Government does not provide any financial or other support for your family.
Accompanying family must travel on a Student Visa (Subclass 500 – subsequent entrant). Your family must have their own Overseas Student Health Cover. This is a requirement of the visa and is not funded by your Australia Awards Scholarship.
Awardees who intend to bring family with them are strongly encouraged to come to Australia on their own for at least the first six months. This will allow the awardee to settle into your study program and environment.
Awardees can also use this time to consider childcare or school for children.
Under Australian law, parents have a legal obligation to make sure their children are safe and not leave them in dangerous situations. Young children must be supervised at all times. You must have care arrangements in place for your children if you plan to leave them during the day or at night. For more information visit: Parentlink.
Childcare can be scarce and expensive in Australia (with long waiting periods), so we recommend securing a place early.
Children can attend public government-funded primary and secondary schools. To receive tuition exemption (or low tuition fees) ensure your children are listed on your visa application.
Your institution can provide you information on schools and childcare providers near your institution.
Australia has a reliable public transport system, including buses, trains and trams which operate according to timetables from designated stops.
Awardees are entitled to student concessions on public transport and your SCO can support you in applying for this. Student concession cards provide you with discounted travel fares.
Cycling is popular in Australia and most cities have good cycle networks. By law you must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
Some students buy used cars, especially if they are living in a regional area or accommodation is a long way from the institution. Running a car (registration, insurance and petrol) can be expensive.
Taxis are safe and readily available in Australia but expensive.
A good tip is to consider the public transport routes when researching long-term accommodation.
Accoring to the Subclass 500 visa, awardees can work up to 40 hours per fortnight. While Australian employment brings great benefit and experience, study must remain the priority.
Dependent family members of Master and PhD students can work unlimited hours.
If you work, you will require an Australian tax file number. This can be applied for at the Australian Tax Office You will be required to lodge a tax return at the end of the financial year (30 June).
To find employment, refer to local newspapers or the internet. Most institutions also have employment and career services that can help you find part-time work, prepare resumes and for interviews. Refer to the following Australian employment sites:
Australia has good mobile phone coverage and fast internet services at reasonable rates. There are many providers and packages available so it’s important to research the prices and options available (some include international calls and texts) as well as unlimited data.
Pre-paid (pay in advance) and post-paid (contractually) options are available. Post-paid contracts may be long term (lasting 24 months) so be cautious about signing a long-term contract. Shorter-term contracts are available.
Free WIFI hotspots are also readily available throughout Austalia, including your institution.
We recommend you take your mobile phone to Australia and buy a new SIM card on arrival.
If you don’t already have a computer, consider buying or renting a laptop in Australia, this way it will be covered by warranty.