Study and living costs

The table below gives an indication of what you might expect to spend across a range of categories, however this is just a guide. When setting your budget, it's important to follow the links and do your own research based on your particular circumstances and past experience.

This table shows the types of living costs, the options associated with each one and how much you can expect to spend on each option.
Living Costs Living Arrangement Weekly Cost More Information
Housing On campus room  $129 - $285 On Campus Accommodation
Off campus shared house/flat $90 - $200 Off Campus Accommodation
Off campus one bedroom flat $130 - $280 Off Campus Accommodation
    Off Campus Accommodation Register
Meals/Groceries Catered on campus Varies Meal Plans
Semi-catered on campusVariesMeal Plans
Self-catered and off campus $80 - $120  
Transport Car owner Varies Buying a Car
No car (public transport) $25 - $50  
Utilities (gas and electricity) On Campus nil  
Off Campus $10 - $15 Compare Energy Offers
Entertainment and personal costs   $50 - $150  
Mobile phone and internet   $10 - $15 Compare phone and internet plans
Textbooks and Stationery   $35 - $60 Textbooks
Total* $265 - $635

*These are basic living costs only - see below for other costs you will also need to consider.

Off campus set up costs

Living Cost Setup Cost More Information
Bond (4 weeks rent) $360 - $1120  
Rent in advance (2 weeks rent) $180 - $560  
Utilities connection $100 - $200 Compare Energy Offers
Total** $640 - $1880  

**This does not include any furniture or household items you might need to purchase

On campus set up costs

There are a number of fees and levies that you will also need to budget for if you choose to live on campus.

You may be working while you study to get work experience, develop new skills, have time away from studying, social time, and importantly, earn much needed income. Research shows that an increasing number of students are combining paid employment with their university studies, most often as a matter of necessity in making ends meet. The research also tells us that the hours of work undertaken by students can have a definite impact on their university experience. So how can you successfully juggle the two?

Plan your time

Have a plan. Don't forget to include family and other commitments along with those relating to work and study, as well as time just for yourself if you can.

Know your limits

It's important to be realistic about exactly what it is possible for you to achieve without burning out, physically and mentally. Prioritise your commitments, and get to know your own red flags for stress.

Communicate with your employer

Be as open as you can be with your employer about your other commitments.
If you're working permanent hours, try to plan your study and work schedules so that busy times don't overlap. Check your entitlements – you may be eligible to apply for study leave, which you might be able to take regularly in small amounts, or to give yourself time to prepare for and attend exams or professional placements.
If you're working a casual roster, let your employer know well ahead of time how your availability will change depending on study commitments, and when you'll be able to devote more time to paid work.

Use the available support

Communicate with your family and other people close to you about where you are at and what they can do to support you, and don't forget the support that's available at CSU:

Take care of yourself

This is important. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, exercise and make some time to relax and engage in activities that you love.

Consider your options

If you're feeling stretched and not managing to meet your commitments, take some time out to consider all the options that might be available to you. Is it possible to cut back on hours of paid work and still make ends meet? Doing a budget might help you to answer this question. Are there any ways to make your money go further? Are you getting all the financial support that you're entitled to? And finally, is it possible to change your study arrangements?

Study part-time on campus

Take the pressure down by completing your degree part-time. Although it will take a bit longer to complete, you may decide that your quality of life will be improved. Talk to your course coordinator or contact Student Central about your enrolment options.

Study by Distance Education

Similarly, completing your degree by distance, or electing to do some subjects by distance while studying others on campus, gives you more control over your schedule and frees up time you might otherwise have spent travelling to campus. You will still have access to the library, online resources and facilities on campus. This might enable you to keep working in your current employment, or to take on new employment
You can choose to study part-time or full-time by DE, depending on what suits you best. Learn more about Distance Education, or contact Student Central about your enrolment options.

Leave of absence

Taking a leave of absence from your degree might give you the opportunity to save up to return to uni to complete your studies with reduced financial stress. Again, while this might mean that it takes longer to finish your degree, it could provide the breather that you need. If you're considering a permanent break from study, have a look at the following resources:

Looking for work?

You can contact the Careers Service to find jobs and support while you study.

Course Fees

Information on fees and charges at CSU for the current year

Textbooks

Textbooks can be one of the biggest study-related expenses, with books costing $100 – 150 per subject per session. It's not always necessary to purchase textbooks new – you may be able to buy second hand textbooks (make sure to check the edition), share books or borrow from the library. Talk to your lecturers and to students who have already completed the subject about which books they found to be the most useful, when deciding which ones to buy.

Clothing

This largely comes down to personal preferences. Be honest with yourself about your spending habits when it comes to clothing, footwear and accessories and be prepared to limit or change your spending habits if necessary. Don't forget to budget for any special clothing requirements for your course.

Health

There are lots of ways to stay healthy while you study, and this includes budgeting for those times when you may need to access health services. You may choose to get private health insurance (or might be covered under an existing family policy), or to take advantage of services available on campus and in the community.

Childcare

You may need to budget for the cost of childcare, either while you attend classes on campus or during residential schools. Childcare is available on some CSU campuses.

Entertainment

Again, this comes down to personal preferences and is an important area of expense to consider in order to make the most of the social side of the university experience.

Studying by Distance

Students completing subjects by Distance Education may be required to attend compulsory residential schools at one of the CSU campuses. It's important to plan ahead as there can be a number of costs you will need to meet. For more, have a look at Planning for Professional Placements and Residential Schools. You may also be eligible for the Residential School Equity Grant.

Professional Placement

Professional placements, also known as work placements or practicums, are a requirement for completion of many courses offered at CSU. To find out if you are required to undertake professional placement activities, refer to your course overview and subject outlines, and then head to Planning for Professional Placements and Residential Schools. Also, don't forget to check out the Professional Placement Equity Grant.

Stretch your budget by making sure you're getting every concession and discount you're entitled to. If you're not sure, don't be afraid to ask!

Banking

Look for a fee-free or low fee bank account. Move your savings out of your everyday transaction account and into a savings account with a competitive interest rate.

IT and Computing

Apply for the CSU Technology Equity Grant, available to eligible undergraduate students.

Look for student discounts on new computers, software, peripherals and other personal devices.

Textbooks

Look for second hand textbooks (make sure to check the edition), share books or borrow from the library. Talk to your lecturers and to students who have already completed the subject about which books they found to be the most useful, when deciding which ones to buy.

Buy or sell used textbooks through sites like Student VIP, search for buy/swap/sell groups .

Apply for the CSU Online Textbook Equity Grant, available to eligible OnLine undergraduate students.

Utilities and Insurance

Review your insurance, utilities and loans every twelve months or when they fall due. Check to see what deals the competitors are advertising and call your provider to let them know you're thinking about switching to take advantage of a better offer. This will often prompt them to offer you a matching price.

Student Discounts

Ask local businesses (hairdressers, for example) if they have student rates or student deals. And if you do come across a great student deal, let us know so that we can spread the word.

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