How to budget for university

Get on top of your finances before you start studying by creating a budget. Plan for the big things – like tuition fees and living expenses – and make sure you have enough left for the odd night away from the books.

Use an online budget planner

The MoneySmart online budget planner is a great tool that helps you build an overall picture of your money – where it’s coming from and how you’re spending it.

Create your budget with the MoneySmart budget planner

Take advantage of discounts

As a student with a valid student card, you’re entitled to all sorts of discounts at retail outlets, service providers, cinemas, gyms, museums and even food outlets. Do your research and find out where the discounts are.

Check our fees

Get to know our student tuition fees and charges to make your budgeting plan as accurate as possible.

See the latest tuition fees

The main costs of university study

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are the most significant cost when studying. There are a number of options to help you pay these fees.

Find out more about Government loan schemes for domestic students


This cost will vary based on where you choose to live – on campus, with family, in your own home or in a share house. Don't forget bond payments and moving expenses.

Renting nearby

If you'd like to house share or rent a place for yourself nearby, check how much you’re likely to spend by searching on or 



Living on campus

On-campus rent varies depending on the campus' location and room type. There's also a one-off application fee.

Find out more about living on campus


If you're not living on campus, driving will be the most expensive option (due to parking fees) followed by public transport. Cycling, walking, or car-pooling are great alternatives. Deakin has fantastic facilities for cyclists and a free car-pool matching service.

Find out more about parking at Deakin

Study materials

Remember to take things like textbooks and printing costs into account. You can access your reading list online and at the Deakin bookshops before every new study period.


While there are many on-campus computer rooms, you’ll need your own computer too. There are a few not-for-profits that sell refurbished computers – take a look at Green PC if you have low income status.

Visit the Green PC website

Insurance and health

Whether it’s health, car, home and contents or life, don’t forget to add insurance to your plan. Bear in mind both routine and emergency dental and medical procedures too.

Food and entertainment

It's hard to know how much money you'll need for entertainment, so try breaking it down into different types: eating in, eating out, drinks, cinema, sports, hobbies. University isn't just about learning, it's about being social too.

The Student Services and Amenities fee (SSAF)

Domestic students pay a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). This covers services such as student welfare, sport and social activities.

Find out more about the SSAF

Extra costs for some students

Work placements

There might be some related costs involved in work placements. These could include:

  • the location of the placement and whether you’ll need to pay for accommodation 
  • how you’ll travel to the placement
  • if you have the right clothes 
  • whether you’ll need your own equipment.

Course-specific fees

For some courses, like optometry and nursing, students will need to buy their own technical equipment. Your faculty will be able to provide you with an estimate of these fees prior to enrolling.

Studying abroad

Studying overseas is an enriching and rewarding way to enhance your study experience. You need to pay for some of these programs and there's an administration fee for the exchange program.

Explore our overseas study options 

Find out about OS-HELP