One of the world’s top 35 best student cities1, and up to 12% more affordable than Sydney and up to 11% more affordable than Melbourne2, there’s no wonder South Australia’s capital is often coined ‘Affordable Adelaide’.

As a student, you’ll benefit from competitive rates on public transport—both international and local students pay the same fare. You’ll also gain access to numerous discounts including on festivals, movies and technology. This means you’ll have more time to spend on the activities you enjoy. At UniSA, we’ve also got plenty of resources to ensure you can make informed decisions about your finances including access to our USASA Financial Wellbeing Service.

Wondering how much money to bring with you before arriving in Australia? Take a look at our Money Considerations webpage, which gives you tips on how to manage your money, the benefits of having an Australian bank account and advice on part-time employment.

You can begin preplanning your expenses with Study Australia’s easy-to-use Cost of Living Calculator.

Part-time work

You might like to consider part-time work while you’re studying in Adelaide. In accordance with your student visa, you are entitled to work a maximum of 48 hours a fortnight (equivalent to approximately three full days per week). For information on the permission to work arrangements for student visa holders, please refer to the Department of Home Affairs website.

Not only will part-time work help to offset the cost of living, but it’s an excellent way to meet new people, improve your English skills, and understanding of Australian culture.

Take a look at the UniSA Career Hub and the Study Adelaide Job Shop to see available employment on offer.

  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) minus-thick plus-thick

    Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is mandatory for students studying in Australia. International students are required to provide evidence of OSHC for the duration of their student visa at the time of visa application.

    UniSA’s preferred OSHC provider is BUPA, however you are free to choose an OSHC provider of your choice. For information about OSHC providers in Australia see the Australian Government’s Private Health webpage.

    Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with some countries that covers the cost of medically necessary care when visiting Australia. Depending on your citizenship and/or circumstance, you may not be required to purchase Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) to cover the length of your stay in Australia to meet your visa conditions. Please refer to the Private Health website for further information.

  • Visas minus-thick plus-thick

    It is critical you always hold a valid student visa while living in Australia. If you wish to extend your study, you will need to ensure you continue to meet visa requirements. You must take responsibility for your own visa.

    In addition to your visa, you will also need to show you have enough money for your travel during your study, course fees for 12 months (or pro rata fees if your course is less than 12 months) and 12 months living costs (or pro rata fees if you are staying less than 12 months).

    You can find out more on how to apply for a student visa and eligibility criteria on the Department of Home Affairs website. Visit the UniSA’s Visa Information webpage for a list of frequently asked questions.

    Study Abroad students can find information on Tuition fees here. Exchange students can find information about additional fees here.

  • Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) minus-thick plus-thick

    A mandatory Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) applies to exchange students to support services of a non-academic nature. You will be invoiced for this after your studies have commenced and enrolments confirmed. The amount requested is dependent on the number of courses you are enrolled in per semester. In 2024, the fee for students studying a full-time load (4 courses) is a maximum of AUD$175.50/semester. This fee does not apply to Study Abroad students.

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    To get an idea of how much money you would need to manage your budget, we’ve made a rough estimate of your monthly costs factoring in housing, transportation, food, mobile plan and entertainment.

    Total monthly expense: AUD $2,788*

    • Managed apartment in Adelaide CBD: AUD $1560
    • Transport (including frequent use of public transport and sometimes use of taxi/uber services): AUD $236
    • Food (including dining out twice a week for lunch and dinner at a moderate price and eating at home for a moderate price): AUD $752
    • Entertainment (including fortnightly live music/sport events and nightclubs): AUD $168
    • Mobile plan (at a moderate price): AUD $72

    * Please keep in mind the above expenses, which were tabled using Study Australia’s Cost of Living Calculator on Dec 13 2023, are rough estimates only and are subject to change. Your lifestyle choices will influence how much you spend and you might find you spend more in other areas, for example on entertainment and less in others, for example transport. Accommodation is another big cost to keep in mind as it will often be more expensive to stay in a one-bedroom unit when compared with a shared house with housemates.

    Need help with budgeting? While there are multiple approaches you can take to implement and manage your budget, the biggest determining factors will be your flight and then accommodation costs. Here are a few budgeting tips from our team:

    • Add up how much money you’ve already saved for your time in Australia, or money that you know you can rely on (don’t forget to include any grants, loans, scholarships, or other regular payments you have coming in)
    • Try to calculate how much money you think you’ll need as a starting point for your semester or year at UniSA. This will include your flights, accommodation, groceries, internet, transportation, and any associate study costs. This is your minimum budgeting need.
    • Then add in the ‘extras’ that will make your time in Australia special. This includes things like dining out, travelling, socialising, and ad hoc expenses.
    • Create a daily or weekly budget based on your anticipated lifestyle while living in Adelaide. Try to stick to your daily budget as much as you can, so that you don’t find yourself without spending money halfway through your trip.
    • Keep an eye on the exchange rate and bear in mind that it might fluctuate during your time overseas. Check the exchange rates using the OANDA currency converter. Learn the currency rate and download XE currency converter app to help you.
    • Remember that you may need to purchase household items upon arrival – check out local markets, charity shops and ask local students about cheap buys!

1 Adelaide ranked #31, QS Best Student Cities 2023.
2 2022 EIU Cost of Living Survey.