Study costs

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Study costs

Tertiary study is an expensive commitment. When considering how to manage their study costs, your child should take into account not only course fees, but associated material costs and living expenses.

Course costs

Course fees are different for every course and can vary between institutions. Financial assistance may be available to help cover course costs. Visit course costs for more info.

Material costs

Material costs can include textbooks, stationery and printing and copying charges. Depending on the course they choose, your child may also need equipment like calculators, lab coats or uniforms.

Living expenses

Living expenses include food and groceries, electricity, internet and phone bills, clothing, medical expenses, and entertainment.


Travel costs include fuel and vehicle maintenance, and public transport fares. The Translink website has info on public transport fares and timetables for South East Queensland. 

Some courses have field trips or professional placements that require students to travel. They may need to pay for fuel or fares, meals and accommodation. If they work, they may need to take time off to attend, which could mean they lose wages.


If your child has to live away from home to study, they’ll need to find out what accommodation is available near their institution, and the cost. Visit living away from home for more about accommodation. 


Your child can help manage their study costs by budgeting.

Some institutions' student support services give budgeting advice, and you can find lots of free budget templates online.

The Australian Government's MoneySmart website, for example, gives information on how to create a budget and includes a budget planner to help track spending and saving.

Ways to minimise costs

With a little care, your child can find ways to minimise their study costs. For example:

  • they can often buy discounted second-hand textbooks and equipment online or from campus bookshops
  • they can save money when shopping by buying generic or home brand products, shopping at low-cost supermarkets and buying items on special
  • they can take advantage of student discounts on public transport and entertainment (eg movie tickets, theme parks, etc). Note: some discounts only apply to full-time students.

Part-time work

Your child may choose to work part-time while studying to help cover their study costs. If so, they need a flexible job that allows them to plan their studies around their work.


Page last updated: 29 Jul 2019