International student fees’ guide in Australia – A curated guide for international students in Australia on how to manage to pay university fees, based on personal experience.
Is this blog even real?
Yes, it is!
This blog post has been written based on our experience of being international students in Australia and how we managed to pay our university fees in Australia while studying a postgraduate degree.
We understand that the title and content of this post might seem debatable for some of our readers but we are sharing this information hoping that this post would be informative and helpful for some visitors like you.
No doubt, university and college fees for international students is comparatively higher than the domestic student fees in Australia by multiple times. Even though the tuition fees are higher in Australia, thousands of international students choose the land down under as their primary destination for further education.
The high influx of international students in Australia can be for several reasons, the major being the international standard of education, work and life opportunities and to experience the Australian lifestyle.
Being a student in Australia and paying your university fees might seem hard and troublesome but actually, it is not! Trust me, if you have a good plan and can manage your finances then it is absolutely possible.
In this blog post, I will be sharing with you how you can manage to pay your student fees in a smart way. While some ideas are basic, some might be convincing for you. The major focus of this blog is on how you can save on your day to day expenses which will gradually help you to be able to pay your fees. Saving is earning!
Let me know in the comment section, which idea you find interesting.
Having enough money – study in Australia 101 declaration
One of the main sources of paying tuition fees for most international students in Australia is by utilising their financial capacity back home. A student is required to prove the ability to bear his/her financial expenses while studying in Australia while applying for a student visa.
There are several ways you can pay for your study and living expense while in Australia with the fund in your home. Some of the sources are:
- personal or family savings
- taking an education loan from bank
- support from your family
You can pay your fees and other related expenses directly from your home country or you can also bring the money to Australia with you. It is possible to wire the money for you from your home country by your family as well.
- you might need documents like a No Objection Certificate to send money outside of your home country.
- you can bring money to Australia with you as a cash, bank draft or credit cards making sure you declare it, if required
Earning by working while studying in Australia
While it is a good idea to pay all of your expenses with your fund back home, it is also a good idea to get Australian work experience. By working in Australia, you might be able to utilise the skills you already have, learn new skills or even find new interests.
There is a range of roles available that you can join even when you are on a student visa. Businesses like retail, hospitality, healthcare, IT & communication are some sectors that are constantly hiring.
- check for relevant casual, part-time or part time roles on job portals like Seek, indeed, LinkedIn, your university student job portal etc.
- make your resume professional and outstanding by listing your skills, experiences and providing references
- make sure you abide by the Department of Home Affairs‘ regulations and requirements regarding working hours and limitations if any
More ways to earn money in Australia
Your primary job isn’t the only way to earn some money while you are in Australia. Abiding by the rules and regulations, there are other multiple ways you can generate more income for your living expenses.
If you have the skills or you want to gain some experience, you can do freelancing even while you are a student. This allows you to be free from any set contract hours and work on your own, from anywhere you desire.
Some of the popular freelancing platforms in Australia are:
Find more about freelancing platforms in Australia in this informative article from Finder.
Passive income ideas
Passive income is another great way to keep generating revenue with minimal work and effort to maintain.
It can be very fruitful in the long run as this will keep on generating you an income continuously over the long run. While the amount may seem negligible at the beginning but with the right plan and strategy, you can win over this!
One of the easiest ways to start earning online is by writing blogs! Yes, by writing a blog like this blog which you are currently reading. Even though my blog doesn’t receive a very high volume of traffic, it earns enough to pay my hosting fees for all websites.
- choose a field/ topic that you are interested in
- decide whether you want to go with free platforms like wordpress.com, blogspot.com or want to host it yourself on platforms like DigitalOcean
- get a domain name, setup hosting, choosing your blogging platform and start publishing
- perform a regular SEO and website speed optimisation
- apply for monetising networks like Adsense by Google once you meet the general requirements
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YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. If you enjoy making videos or have an idea in mind, take out your phone/ camera and start shooting, it’s this simple.
I have been publishing videos for many years as a hobby and have been enjoying it a lot. This hobby has been able to generate some revenue for me as well.
The use of tools like Tubebuddy will make it quicker to grow your YouTube and easier to manage as well.
Earning some commission when someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link, how good it sounds, doesn’t it?
Yes, while you are in Australia, don’t forget that you can always do affiliate marketing on platforms like Amazon, DigitalOcean, Tubebuddy and more.
Check this page to check my affiliate and referral links.
Online surveys: octopus group
I have been using octopusgroup.com.au for a while, doing paid surveys while I am free or even while I am travelling on public transport in Adelaide. By doing such paid surveys it is possible to buy groceries enough for a week or there’s a lot more you can do with the time you spend on doing surveys.
Check this blog post from The Fun Empire, to find more paid survey platforms in Australia.
Start a business
Why not start your own business if you have an entrepreneur mindset?
You can start your own business in Australia even when you are an international student studying in a university or in a college.
Check this official guide on how to start a business in Australia.
Saving money is earning money!
Right, saving is earning!
Developing a habit of saving on your day to day expenses will eventually lead you to collect your fees. But I don’t mean to say here, not to eat anything or not to buy your basic groceries. What I mean by saving is there are tons of ways you can save while living in Australia as an international student. Here below, I have listed some of the common ways we adopted that helped us from spending high.
Save on groceries
There are different types of groceries and supermarkets in Australia. The most popular are supermarket giants like Coles, Woolworths and Aldi. Almost all supermarkets do a periodic repetition of low prices, sales and clearance sales.
Buying the needed products on such sales will gradually save you from spending in excess on the same product. Also, don’t forget to check the catalogues (which might be delivered to your mailbox or online) and online stores.
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There is a trend of Sunday market in Australia. You might be able to get a huge bargain on groceries and fresh produce when you visit the Sunday markets near to you. We used to go to Sunday market at Gepps Cross in Adelaide, and we remember for $20 cash note, we used to get a lot of vegetables and fresh fruits.
Some local fruit and vegetable shops also offer quality yet affordable products.
Manage streaming subscriptions like Netflix for a while
Entertainment is essential. Sometimes, we tend to subscribe to more than necessary streaming services like Netflix, Stan, Binge or Prime Video that we rarely use some platforms.
If you are using multiple streaming services or may have subscribed to one just for one particular show or movie, it is the right time to look back and decide if you really need to keep it by buying recurring fees.
Minimise on mobile and internet bill
Let me share with you our story about mobile bills in Australia.
When we first came to Australia, we (Sonisha and I) both subscribed to a sim plan of AUD 55 a month. This plan had unlimited data connection and a few hundred minutes of international calls to Nepal. At first, we thought, getting certain minutes of free calls to Nepal was good for us as we could talk to our parents straight on the phone.
But later we realised that we weren’t even using 10% of international calls as we used to talk over the internet (via messenger and Viber) with our parents. We stayed on this plan for about a year and later switched to a $40/month plan which didn’t have any international calls to Nepal but still had an unlimited data connection. Now we realise that we were paying 30$(15+15) a month for the services we hardly used.
What I’m trying to share with you is there are always better plans and services in the market. A little bit of internet browsing will prove to be very helpful for you. Vodafone, Telstra, Optus, Aldi etc always have the best budget plans if you want to minimise your spending on mobile and internet bills.
Always check for student discount and concession
Out of the several awesomeness of being an international student in Australia, the one I feel proud to use is the mindblowing student discounts and concessions you get almost everywhere.
Being a student in Australia means you’ll have to never pay full prices on anything from now on. Be it on your new iPad, Microsoft Office subscription or your new Gimbal from DJI, everywhere you go, everything you want to get, there’s always discounts and concessions waiting for you.
Also, most events and tickets offer student concessions. Similarly, public transportation also have student fares just for you! In Adelaide Metro, the fare for a 28-day unlimited pass for students is just around 52.50AUD which is half of what normal 28-day pass costs.
Here are some of my favourite businesses offering student discounts:
- Cotton On
- Vodafone, Telstra and Optus
- Apple Music, YouTube Premium, YouTube Music
Tax return helps a lot!
As you work and pay tax in Australia, you are required to lodge an annual tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). There are high chances that you’ll be able to get a good amount of money as a tax return. This also depends on how much you’ve earned and paid tax. You can use a free tool like paycalculator to determine the estimation anytime.
Some businesses might have salary sacrifice opportunities available for the employees. Please check with your employer once, as this will help you get paid more.
Remember to tap your reward card at the places accepted, whenever you buy anything in Australia. Businesses like Coles, Woolworths, Kmart, Target, Officeworks, Liquorland, BWS etc have a very popular reward program that is free to sign up.
You accumulate points as you make purchases. These points can be used later to buy products or any relevant items.
Flybuys and Everyday rewards are two popular reward programs in Australia.
Getting good scores in your subject!
Many higher education institutions in Australia encourage and reward their students who perform outstandingly in their academics and research with gift vouchers, cash and financial credits for future subjects. Sonisha has been able to grab a few hundred Coles gift vouchers from her university for getting a high distinction in her subjects in different trimesters.
It is possible for international students to pay in instalments
In case of true hardship and difficult situations, Australian universities and colleges have policies for international students to pay their tuition fees in instalments over a certain period of time.
Paying in instalment can be a lifesaver for many students as it gives opportunity to continue their studies without interruption and lessen the financial burden.
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Please talk to your university in advance if you are planning to pay your international student fees in instalment. Some universities have strict policies on granting permission for instalment plans and can also be declined if the reason isn’t convincing enough.
Can you pay your student fees with a credit card in Australia?
Where there's a will there's a way.
A credit card can be the right solution to help you temporarily manage your financial pressure. Remember, there’s always a good and a bad side. Before you decide to apply for a credit card, I suggest you do enough research if a credit card is a right choice for you.
There are different types of credit cards offered by different banks and financial organisations in Australia. If you apply for a credit card with a bank that you already have an account with, the application process might be faster and easier. You can get a credit card with different limits like $500, $1000, $2000 etc.
Use Buy Now Pay Later services to pay your fees, bills and groceries
Buy Now Pay Later services are popular in Australia for buying a product upfront and delaying the payment. Different shops, businesses and organisations may accept these services.
Some of the popular BNPL services that I have personally used are:
- Commbank Advance Pay
As in credit cards, there are some things you need to consider while using BNPL services. Be careful not to spend more than what you can repay. Many users get trapped in the never-ending cycle of debt when unable to manage to repay.
Find more about buy now pay later services at this helpful guide https://moneysmart.gov.au/other-ways-to-borrow/buy-now-pay-later-services
A friend in need is a friend indeed
Well, we all have friends, don’t forget to remember your families and friends when you need any kind of help. Be it just emotional support or some other kind of help, there might be someone who is happy to be on your side. Make sure you keep the records if anyone helps you which can be helpful in the future for references.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel
There is always hope! Be positive.
I understand that it can be very challenging and hard for you to manage your fees, remember this problem won’t be forever. Staying calm and positive will help you to think of a solution to solve your issue.
- Always share your problems with your parents, families and friends.
- meet your university counsellor if you are in need of some counselling and support
- visit a reliable educational agent in your city as they might have some solutions to your condition, somebody might have already faced the same problem that you are facing now.
- join and check online forums and discussions for ideas and suggestions
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How not to pay your international student fees in Australia?
Since this is an informative and friendly blog, it is my duty to alert you to stay away from a few things while you are in Australia. I have noticed on the news that many students are being scammed or being used to conduct a scam in Australia.
There are different scams ongoing targeting innocent and needy victims worldwide and in Australia as well. Please go through the scamwatch australia website to educate yourself with the different scams happening in Australia, how to stay away and what to do if you happen to be the victim
- money laundering
someone might approach you offering that s/he will pay your university fees and they want no or very little commission in return.
Always stay away from such people you don’t know well as you might get trapped into being a victim of money laundering or white washing an illegal money by paying your fees
So, these are all ideas that can be useful to pay your university fees. Everything that I’ve mentioned here, we’ve personally used, so these are all our stories – our experiences.
What do you think about the above different ideas on paying fees in Australia as an international student?
Let me know in the comment section below. 🙂
FAQs – How an international student can pay fees in Australia
There are multiple options to pay university fees in Australia: by local or overseas bank transfer, online credit card payment and Bpay.
International students in Australia rely on their funds and savings back in their home country, parents’ financial sources or also by supporting themselves by working while studying in Australia.
Usually, international students in Australia pay full tuition fees unless they have received scholarships, discounts or special considerations.
While it can be possible, generally it might be very challenging to pay your own fees in Australia, as you would have to focus on your study and exams as well.
Yes, international students can pay their university fees in instalments in Australia subject to the condition that if this service is offered by their educational institution they meet all the requirements and go through the formal process.