Studying costs money

Being a student can be expensive. There are many things you may need to pay for, including tuition fees, books and other learning materials.

Here we show you how to get your money organised early so you'll have enough time and energy to get the most out of your course.

Student expenses

On top of your study costs, your living expenses, such as rent, mobile phone and car costs may begin to add up when you start tertiary study.

Video: The costs of studying at university

The costs of studying at university video

Diana got herself into some financial trouble when she started full-time study at university. Watch the video to see how she managed her budget to make sure she could afford to pay for her education.

Create a budget and track your spending

Take control of your money by doing a budget. This will help you break down your regular income and expenses and see how much you can save. Remember to include in your budget any financial assistance you might receive whilst studying.

If you are leaving home to study there will be expenses you haven't had to think about before. Our page on moving out of home has plenty of tips to help make this change easier.

Break down your costs and plan for your future.

Budget planner

Video: Scott Pape's student money challenge

Video about living on a student income.

Take Scott Pape's money challenge to help you live on a student income.

Keeping track of your spending will help you calculate your day-to-day living expenses and see where your money is going. Our easy-to-use mobile app is a handy tool for busy students.

See how much you are spending and how much you can save.


Read our case study about Katie, a uni student who gets a reality check when she uses the budget planner.

Student loans and allowances

You may be eligible to receive an allowance or loan from the Government to help you with your living or study costs. Visit our webpage on financial help for students to check what you're entitled to.

Work-related study

If you're fortunate enough to get the chance to study whilst working it is important to understand your entitlements.

Tax deductions

If your study or training is relevant to your job, you may be able to claim some of your expenses as a tax deduction. See the Australian Taxation Office's webpage on self-education expenses for more details.

Paid study leave

Ask your employer if they can offer paid study leave or give you time to study during work hours. Some employers may even be able to pay for your course fees or other study expenses.


You may be doing on-the-job training through an apprenticeship or traineeship scheme. If your employer agrees, they will pay your wage while you get qualifications from TAFE or another training provider.

The decision about who pays the cost of formal off-the-job training for Australian apprentices is made by the Fair Work Commission as it depends on the industrial arrangement or award that the apprentice is paid under.

Australian Defence Force Academy

The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) offers tax-free pay and allowances to eligible students who take on a career in the Australian Defence Force. ADFA also pays for their undergraduate or postgraduate degrees.

You can also complete an apprenticeship or traineeship at ADFA. Be aware that if you resign after your second year of study at ADFA, you'll have to reimburse the government for the cost of your training.


If you have to reduce your work hours to manage your study, your employer's superannuation contributions will decrease. This is because your employer pays your super based on your salary or wages.

Related links

Last updated: 25 Oct 2018