Estimate how much you can afford by doing a budget. Consider expenses such as rent, food, books, stationery, printing, transport, calculators, CSU fees, entertainment,  and personal needs. If you're smart with your spending, you can cut down on your living expenses and save money.

There are a number of aspects to consider when budgeting for costs at university: tuition fees, accommodation fees, course expenses like textbooks and materials, and general living expenses.

The following is an example of some of the costs involved in being a student at CSU. Please be reminded that this is intended to be used as a guide when preparing a budget. The living costs vary from student to student depending on their lifestyle and preferences.

Academic costs (compulsory costs per year in Australian dollars)MinimumMaximum
Tuition fee as scheduled  
Overseas Students Health Cover (OSHC) $553 (single) $3,897 (family)
Textbooks and stationary $800 $2000

There may be additional costs associated with your course, for example, travel and living expenses during practicum, protective clothing and specialist equipment.

Off campus accommodation costs

when choosing to live off campus there can be some initial expensive set up costs that you will need to pay such as a bond to secure your room and rent in advance. Upon leaving the property if you have not broken the bond commitments in any way you will receive this fee back.

Living Cost Approximate Cost
Bond (4 weeks rent) $360-$1120
Rent in advance (2 weeks rent) $180 - $560
Utilities connection $100 - $200
Total* $640 - $1880

*This does not include and furniture or household items you may need to purchase.

On campus accommodation costs

CSU has one of the largest ranges of on campus student accommodation options of any Australian University. for more information about the types of accommodation and the fees they charge head to our accommodation site.

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

Guide to Living Expenses

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

Living Costs Living Arrangement Weekly Cost More Information
Housing On campus room $172 - $267 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 campus Varies Meal Plans
Self-catered and off campus $80 - $120  
Transport Car owner Varies Buying a Car

Automotive Running Costs

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 phones and internet plans
Total* $340 - $675

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

Other Costs to Consider


Textbooks can be one of the biggest study-related expenses, with books costing $100 – 150 per subject per session (for some courses this is higher). 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.


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.


You may need to budget for the cost of childcare, either while you attend classes on campus. Childcare is available on some CSU campus locations for a fee:

Helpful hints to save money

Here are some great ways to cut down on your living expenses:

  • Remember you may have to undertake workplace learning. Ask if you pay full board or rent at these times. Also, negotiate prices during holiday periods if you are not going to be there.
  • When negotiating accommodation, ask if you will need sheets, towels and pillows or cooking utensils, plus stationery and personal effects. These items will add to your costs.
  • Plan to take your lunch to university at least two to three times a week. This saves at least $15 a week which translates to almost $800 a year.
  • Take away your main temptation; access to money. Withdraw a certain amount of cash and leave your cards and cheque book at home, perhaps even leaving $10 in an envelope for taxi fares.
  • When you are in the supermarket, think twice about reaching for the more colourful and more expensive name brands. Try a few no-name labels to compare quality - often for half the price the quality is just as good. And don't go food shopping when you are hungry!
  • Plan meals in advance and prepare a shopping list before you go shopping. Studies prove that shoppers without a list buy more items than those who come prepared.
  • Think about buying goods second hand. Check opportunity shops, second hand shops, community newspapers for furniture, bedding, cutlery, crockery. Auctions and garage sales serve up budget-priced quality items to the trained eye.
  • Do not buy a heater that is cheap to buy but expensive to run.

"Some helpful hints" are drawn from "Budgeting: Making it Easy" by the Credit Union Services Corporation.

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