Cost of living


Brisbane may be one of Australia's cheapest major cities for students to live in, but you'll still need to plan and budget carefully.

Going to university can mean more costs that just course fees. Accommodation, books, study materials and transport are all common expenses that are overlooked.

To help you plan for your time at UQ, the Department of Home Affairs has outlined minimum cost of living requirements that all international students must demonstrate in order to obtain a student visa.

We've also compiled some helpful cost of living information you can use as a guide in estimating your budget while studying at UQ.

Pre-departure expenses

If you're relocating from overseas, you will incur some costs before you depart:

  • student visa: as per the Department of Home Affairs
  • Overseas Student Health Cover: varies based on duration of student visa length
  • travel to Australia: varies based on departure location
  • accommodation bond (refundable deposit): four to six weeks rent.


There are plenty of accommodation options available near UQ's campuses, making it easy to find housing that suits your budget. Depending on whether you want to live on campus or off, you can expect to pay approximately:

Single student: on-campus Single student: off-campus share house Single student: off-campus apartment Family (two adults, one child): off-campus apartment
$450 to $700 per week* $130** to $250 per week $180 to $520 per week $450 to $600 per week

UQ's Student Services can help you find accommodation that meets your requirements, with information available for both on- and off-campus options.

*Cost of fully catered accommodation including utilities. These vary from residential college to college and are drawn from 2019 prices.The weekly cost for a standard resident room in the Halls of Residence in Gatton is approximately $293.

**Off-campus accommodation costs are usually lower in Gatton. The weekly cost for a single room in a share house in Brisbane starts from $130.

Other monthly expenses

Determining the cost of other living expenses can be difficult as it will depend on your personal needs and lifestyle.

This list of common, recognisable items can give you a better understanding of everyday expenses in Brisbane:

  • loaf of bread: from $1.85
  • 1 litre of milk: from $1.20
  • 1 kilo of rice: $2.29
  • cup of coffee: $3.50 to $5.00
  • Big Mac: $5.85
  • cinema ticket (concession rate): from $5.50
  • phone call (local): $0.50
  • bus ticket (concession rate): $1.32 to $3.08

We've also put together a table of general living expenses to help you estimate a weekly budget:

  Single student: on-campus Single student: off-campus share house Single student: off-campus commercial private provider Family (two adults, one child): off-campus apartment
Food Included in rent $100 to $125 $100 to $125 $250 to $300
Utilities (gas and electricity) Included in rent $10 to $20 Included in rent*** $40 to $50
Phone $20 to $30 $20 to $30 $20 to $30 $20 to $30
Internet Included in rent $5 to $10 Included in rent*** $15 to $50
Public transport $10 to $20 $20 to $40 $20 to $40 $80 to $160
Photocopying $8 to $13 $8 to $13 $8 to $13 $8 to $13
Recreation $30 to $50 $40 to $60 $40 to $60 $60 to $100
Clothing or personal care $50 to $70 $50 to $70 $50 to $70 $100 to $160

Insider Guides also provide a helpful online Cost of Living Calculator to estimate your weekly, monthly and yearly living costs in greater detail.

***Many student accommodation providers include electricity, gas and internet costs in rent; however, check with your provider to be sure.

Books and equipment costs

Faculties and schools will often issue lists of books and equipment that you need to obtain for the semester. Depending on your program, this can cost approximately $100 to $650 per semester.

You can find many of these materials at The School Locker bookshop, which has outlets on the St Lucia, Gatton and Herston campuses, or you can check out the Secondhand Bookshop for used textbooks.

The UQ Library also usually has copies (either online or hardcopy) of suggested reading materials, and University noticeboards are a great resource for secondhand equipment. 

You will need access to a computer and the internet during your time at UQ. Although computers are available on campus, we suggest owning one, if possible.

Public transport

If you own a car, the cost of driving and parking can be upwards of $150 per week. We recommend using Brisbane's Translink public transport services to get to and from the University.

UQ's St Lucia and Herston campuses are both serviced by extensive public transport networks, offering congestion-free, fast and reliable transportation.

If you need to travel between campuses, UQ offers a free shuttle bus service, which connects our St Lucia and Gatton campuses. 

Concessions and student discounts

As a UQ student, you can take advantage of concessions and student discounts at participating retailers and institutions. Student discounts are usually accessed by presenting a valid student ID card. They can help you minimise your expenses on a number of products and services, including:

  • software and technology
  • public transport
  • cinema tickets
  • museums
  • select food and drink venues
  • select hair salons and barbers. 

Help and advice

If you need help with your expenses while studying, UQ offers a number of resources. It doesn't matter if you're trying to establish a budget or you're finding it difficult to manage expenses through the semester, Student Services and the UQ Union offer guides, workshops and advisors to help.

You can book an appointment with a Student Advocacy and Support advisor for one-on-one assistance, or sign up for one of the workshops offered by Student Services.

Regular wellbeing and living sessions provide advice on everything from establishing a budget to cooking healthy meals while saving money.

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