Student exchange in Australia comes with plenty to organise.
And so, when it does come to organising, budgeting should be number one on your priority list. Because, like all things in life, your student exchange is going to cost you!
In which case, it’s time to take a look at what costs and fees you can expect as an exchange student in Australia.
What's in this guide ?
Visa Application Fee
Caption: Student visas come with student visa fees!
First things first. If you plan on studying in the great big land of Oz, you’re going to have to apply for a Student Visa (Subclass 500). The base application fee is currently $575 AUD and applies to students within or outside of Australia.
If you have family members planning to tag along, they also come at an additional cost. Additional application charges add $430AUD onto (your existing) application fee. And, for any underage family members, you’re looking at $140AUD.
Medical examinations are a standard procedure with any type of visa. And so, your student visa is not exempt from this visa “fact of life”. Fees depend on your home country and the kinds of examinations you are personally required to take.
But, to give you a general idea, the basic medical examination in Australia ranges from $200 AUD to $300 AUD. You may have more costs added to this price depending on whether the My Health Declarations require you to take extra examinations.
Overseas Student Health Cover
Assuming you’re alive and well, the next thing is to make sure you stay healthy for the duration of your student exchange. This means you will need Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
The OSHC is mandatory if you want to shift your student visa from pending to approved. The Australian Immigration Department requires you to have your OSHC policy in action from the moment you arrive in Australia…until the moment you leave.
In terms of cost, your OSHC cover varies depending on what level of insurance cover you choose, how long you plan on staying in Australia, and which insurance provider you choose.
Again, for a general idea, your standard OSHC policy costs roughly $480 AUD to $560 AUD per year. For a one-year standard OSHC policy, the main certified OSHC insurance companies in Australia include:
AHM: $486 per annum (each year)
NIB: $491 per annum (each year)
Bupa: $544 per annum (each year)
Medibank: $545 per annum (each year)
Allianz: $558per annum (each year)
Tuitions & Access To Genuine Funds
Caption: Organise your finances to get your student visa approved
Now you can’t apply for student exchange if you’re not enrolled to study at an educational provider in Australia. So you’re going to have to start calculating in tuition fees. While tuition fees vary from one education provider to the next…a university semester in Australia costs $10,000-$20,000 on average.
The Department of Home Affairs determines whether you have the funds to support your education (and living expenses) through its ‘Genuine Access To Funds’ assessment.
In order to pass this assessment, you will need to show documentary evidence that you can actually pay for your student exchange in Australia. And you have a few official options to choose from:
Option 1 – Twelve Months Funds
Evidence of funds for travel to Australia, 12 months living, and tuition:
Flight Costs: $1,000 AUD-$3,000 AUD (depending on which part of the world your applying from).
Living Costs: $20,290 AUD for students. Plus add an extra $20,290 AUD if you’re accompanied by a guardian, $7,100 AUD for a Spouse/Partner or $3,040 AUD for a child.
Course Fees: Calculate the first 12months of your course fees (starting from the date you lodged your visa application).
Option 2 – Annual Income:
Evidence of sufficient annual income:
You must have a personal annual income of at least $60,000 AUD. And for those of you who are being accompanied by family members, the requirement is at least $70,000 AUD.
The income you demonstrate must be either personal income from your spouse or parents. Or you can also negotiate for the total amount to be combined from a few people’s incomes. You will also need to provide official government documents such as tax assessment.
Option 3 – Genuine Access To Funds:
You and any accompanying family members must demonstrate you will have access to the funds while in Australia:
- When another person/business is providing funds: Show evidence of the relationship and any history of financial support, i.e identity documents.
- If relying on a financial deposit: explain any recent large deposits or ongoing deposits e.g. wages.
- If you have an education loan: disbursement should be provided i.e. the loan terms and the full amount to be disbursed.
- If you’re relying on another type of loan: show evidence of collateral used to secure a loan, terms of the agreement, and capacity to cover ongoing costs.
Caption: Don’t forget student accommodation costs
Next up on the list. How much is student accommodation going to cost you? Of course, this isn’t an additional cost. It’s part of the Genuine Access to Funds Options – 1) 12-Months Fund, 2) Annual Income, or 3) Genuine Access to Funds.
Still, it’s worth wrapping your head around what kinds of student accommodation options are available and their relative costs.
Option 1: Host Family:
Staying with an Australian host family is popular for students on a high school exchange, and less so for those on university exchange. Still, there are plenty of university students that can’t say no to a home-cooked meal!
Weekly Price Guide: $300 AUD for standard homestay package (including food, accommodation & utilities).
Option 2: University Accommodation:
Always a great option for those students obsessed with all things uni life and having your university right at your doorstep. It tends to be on campus or right nearby.
Weekly Price Guide: $150-$400 AUD (Including utilities and communal areas, usually excluding wifi, furnishings, and food).
Purpose-built student housing is designed for international students wanting to experience student life without the “your university is your home” aspect of on-campus living. These sites tend to be located in central university districts and social hubs and filled with other international and domestic students.
Weekly Price Guide: $200-$400 AUD (Including utilities, wifi, furnishings, laundry, pool, gym, & communal areas).
Option 4: Renting:
If you are all about independent living, renting your own apartment is about as independent is it gets. You get to choose your own apartment, the area you live, and the kind of people you flat with. Usually, it is not furnished and you also have to pay the utility bills as well.
Weekly Price Guide: $250-$400 AUD (not including food or utilities. And may or may not include furnishings)
The English Test
Your English Language test costs more than just brainpower (Image 5)
To study in an English speaking country, as the logic goes, you need to have English language skills. Which means you will have to sit the IELTS or an equivalent English language test. And this testing comes at a cost.
In all likelihood, you’ll be sitting the IELTS – the most widely respected and accepted English language certification in Australia. The IELTS test costs $340 AUD or $347 AUD where a GST payment applies.
Police Clearance Certificate
Another annoying but necessary part of your student visa application is a police certificate. The Department of Immigration requires character clearance for international students entering the country. Price varies depending on which country you get your certificate. But, to give you a rough idea, it’s $42 AUD for a police check application in Australia.
General living expenses are entirely dependent on you! Excluding accommodation…your looking at about $50-$250 AUD per day for public transport, groceries and/or eating out, and maybe a bit of recreation or shopping. Of course, you can go far below or above this limit depending on how thrifty or luxurious your student lifestyle is.
Your student visa application and student life in Australia is going to require some serious cash flow. In which case it’s time to knuckle down, get out your calculator, and start budgeting in your student exchange fees!