Financial Status of International Student in Australia

Jun 13, 2014 by

Financial struggle is usually an inherent part of being an international student. In Australia, there is a dearth of information that will shed light on the financial circumstances of international students. There are suggestions though that financial difficulties are being experienced by some international students and this is causing them anxiety and insecurity.

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According to  a working paper on “ Australian University International Student Finances” published by Monash University a study conducted at the Melbourne University revealed that  71.9% of students do not have any problem with finances, 28.1% are worried and 10.3% believe their finances are “completely or nearly inadequate.” The study also revealed that concern about finances is definitely and notably linked to the level of stress, anxiety and depression, with the link to depression being most acute.

Cost of studying in Australia

An HSBC report revealed that Australia is the “most expensive place in the world” for international students to study. They will need to provide money for their tuition, fees, health insurance as well as living expenses such as housing, clothing and food. Tuition rates in Australia vary from university to university, and cost of living also differs depending on the location of the university. Housing, clothing, food and other living expenses are usually more expensive in urban cities as compared to those of smaller towns. The combined cost of of all these is approximately US$38, 516 according to the report. This is broken down into:

  • Annual fees:   US$25,375
  • Cost of living:  US$13,140

As per figures released by Study in Australia, annual tuition fees for international students, excluding high value courses such as medical and veterinary, are estimated as follows:

  • Undergraduate bachelor’s degree:  AU$15,000 to AU$33,000
  • Postgraduate master’s degree:         AU$20,000 to AU$37,000
  • Doctoral degree:                               AU$14,000 to AU$37,000

The amount is expected to increase further with the addition of a maximum of AU$281 for Student Services and Amenities Fees, charges for amenities and services on non-academic nature charged by some institutions.

The good news is, with the drop in the value of the Australian Dollar  which is expected at 9% in 2014 according to HSBC forecasters, the cost to study in Australia will also likely to decrease.

Sources of funds

The common sources of funds for foreign students are:

  • Family resources from relatives abroad or from Australia relatives
  • Paid employment
  • Savings
  • Loans
  • Scholarship

Paid employment

Fortunately for international students in Australia, most student visas granted by the government allow students to work for a maximum of 40 hrs bi-weekly while enrolled in their courses. They are also allowed to work for an unlimited number of hours during course breaks. The income generated from such part-time employment can go a long way in supplementing their cost of studies at the same time gaining them some work experience.

Scholarships and fellowships

Another big help to foreign students who will choose Australia as a place to study is the availability of scholarships and fellowships for eligible applicants under the Australia Awards which includes Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships and the Australia Awards Fellowships. Some Australian universities and OTHER educational institutions also offer scholarships to qualified applicants.

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