Singaporeans are known for being kiasu (or, as we’d like to put it: well-prepared) — so we won’t fault you for looking ahead and planning for your newly born child’s education.

 

After all, getting a university education overseas doesn’t come cheap, and if you’re hoping to fund your child’s studies in Australia, it makes sense to start saving up as soon as possible.

 

Now, in anticipating how much this might cost, you’ll have to take several things into consideration. This includes university fees in Australia, the cost of food and accomodation, and other miscellaneous costs.

 

If you’re feeling a tad overwhelmed, don’t worry — we’ve done the dirty work, and broken down all the costs associated with getting a university degree in Australia for you. Now all you have to do is to come up with a savings plan, and make sure you stick to it!

How much does a degree cost in Australia?

Obviously, the bulk of your child’s university costs will go towards the school fees that are paid to their university.

 

Here, we’ll look at the average tuition fees for three highly popular universities in Australia: University of Melbourne, Monash University, and UNSW Sydney.

 

Here’s the cost breakdown of how much you can expect to pay to get a professional degree from these universities:

 

 

Medicine

Dentistry

Accountancy

Law

Engineering

University of Melbourne

AU$364,288

AU$196,744

AU$121,896 to

AU$129,792

AU$127,968

AU$126,136 to

AU$162,224

Monash University

AU$385,000

NA

AU$130,200

AU$160,800

AU$177,600

UNSW Sydney

AU$510,210

NA

NA

AU$256,680

AU$202,850

 

And here’s the breakdown for non-professional degrees:

 

 

Arts / Social Sciences

Computing

Business

Science

University of Melbourne

AU$98,064 to AU$110,412

NA

AU$121,896 to AU$129,792

AU$126,136 to AU$162,224

Monash University

AU$94,500

AU$124,200

AU$130,200

AU$124,800

UNSW Sydney

AU$117,940

AU$208,090

AU$126,050 to AU$148,610

AU$201,970

 

As of now, Singapore’s currency is pretty strong, with the exchange rate hovering at around $1 AUD = $0.98 SGD. Bearing this in mind, this is how much professional degrees in the three universities cost when converted back to SGD:

 

 

Medicine

Dentistry

Accountancy

Law

Engineering

University of Melbourne

S$357,002

S$192,809

S$119,458 to S$127,196

S$125,409

S$123,613 to S$158,980

Monash University

S$377,300

NA

S$127,400

S$157,584

S$174,048

UNSW Sydney

S$500,006

NA

NA

S$251,546

S$198,793

 

And here’s the breakdown for non-professional degrees, converted back to SGD:

 

 

Arts / Social Sciences

Computing

Business

Science

University of Melbourne

S$96,103 to S$108,204

NA

S$119,458 to S$127,196

S$123,613 to S$158,980

 

Monash University

S$92,610

S$121,716

S$127,596

S$122,304

 

UNSW Sydney

S$115,581

S$203,928

S$123,429 to S$145,638

S$197,931

 

While the strong exchange rate does help (by a small margin!) to push down your costs, we recommend taking a more conservative approach, and NOT relying on the exchange rate.

 

After all, it’s common for exchange rates to fluctuate — and it’s possible that the AUD will have strengthened against the SGD by the time your child is old enough to enter university.

Cost of student accomodation in Australia

When studying in Australia, there are two options — you can either stay in on-campus housing (if it’s available!), or rent an apartment to stay in.

Renting an apartment in Australia

Let’s assume your child is studying in Melbourne University, for example. Because the university is located within the city centre (where space is expensive!), it doesn’t provide on-campus housing. This means international students have to rent a place of their own.

 

Now, rental for a studio apartment in the city centre will cost approximately AU$1,000 to AU$1,500 (S$980 to S$1,470) per month. To cut costs, your child might choose to rent a larger apartment and stay with housemates. If that’s the case, you can expect to spend anywhere from AU$600 to AU$800 (S$588 to S$784) per month.

 

For those who want to go all out to save money, there’s also the option of renting an apartment in the suburbs, and commuting to the city centre on a daily basis. While apartments in the suburbs are more economical, travelling to and fro eats up a lot of time, and we generally wouldn’t recommend this.

 

To sum up, here are the costs:

 

 

Rent (per month)

Rent (per year)

Rent (3 years)

Apartment

S$980 to S$1,470

S$11,760 to S$17,640

S$35,280 to S$52,920

Shared apartment

S$588 to S$784

S$7,056 to S$9,408

S$21,168 to S$28,224

 

All in all, if your child rents an apartment in Australia, you can expect to pay up to $52,920 across their entire university stint if they’re staying solo (or up to $28,224 if they’re staying with housemates).

 

For simplicity’s sake, we’re assuming that your child will rent their apartment for 12 months per year. Even though they might return to Singapore during their summer holiday, it’s unlikely that their landlord will allow them to vacate the room during this period of time, and resume paying rent only when school is in session again.

Staying on-campus in Australia

If your child does have the option of staying on-campus, this will likely help you save cost.

 

Monash University, for instance, offers four different options when it comes to housing:

 

  • Clayton Residential Village

  • Clayton Urban Community

  • Peninsula Residential Village

  • Peninsula Studio Apartments

 

The rental fee for these housing options range from AU$9,878.40 to AU$14,112 per year. This works out to S$29,042 to S$41,489 for a total of three years.

 

If your child is headed to UNSW Sydney, they can choose from staying at UNSW operated colleges, affiliated colleges, UNSW operated apartments and UNSW affiliated apartments. The colleges are said to offer “community style living”, and come with meal plans, housekeeping and pastoral support, and the apartments are suited for students looking for a more independent living arrangement.

 

Each college and apartment at UNSW Sydney comes with its own contract period (between 39 to 52 weeks), and total costs range from AU$12,049 to AU$25,408 (S$11,808 to S$24,899).

 

As you might expect, the apartments or colleges that come with more bells and whistles (en suite toilets, for instance) are more expensive. If your child can make do without these luxuries, this will help with keeping costs low.

 

So: on-campus or off-campus? Here’s a side by side comparison:

 

 

Rent (per month)

Rent (per year)

Rent (3 years)

Off-campus

S$980 to S$1,470

S$11,760 to S$17,640

S$35,280 to S$52,920

Off-campus (shared)

S$588 to S$784

S$7,056 to S$9,408

S$21,168 to S$28,224

On-campus

NA

NA

S$11,808 to S$24,899

Cost of food, transport and other expenses in Australia

Now that we’re done with the big-ticket items, let’s move on to calculating the costs of food, transport and other expenses in Australia.

 

Here are the official estimates by StudyInAustralia.Gov.Au:

 

  • Groceries and eating out – AU$80 to AU$280 per week

  • Gas, electricity – AU$35 to AU$140 per week

  • Phone and Internet – AU$20 to AU$55 per week

  • Public transport – AU$15 to AU$55 per week

  • Entertainment – AU$80 to AU$150 per week

 

After converting to SGD and summing up the costs, here’s the break down:

 

 

Per year

3 years

Groceries and eating out

S$4,077 to S$14,269

S$12,230 to S$42,806

Gas and electricity

S$1,784 to S$7,134

S$5,351 to S$21,403

Phone and internet

S$1,019 to S$2,803

S$3,058 to S$8,408

Public transport

S$764 to S$2,803

S$2,293 to S$8,408

Entertainment

S$4,077 to S$7,644

S$12,230 to S$22,932

 

As you can see, the costs vary pretty widely. At the end of the day, how much one might expect to spend on living expenses in Australia is highly dependent on their lifestyle.

 

More specifically: some international students in Australia live extravagantly — they regularly go to brunch with their friends, go shopping after school, and frequent expensive nightclubs. For these students, living expenses will snowball quickly.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, if your child chooses to cook at home, have their friends over, and spend within their means, they can actually get by on pretty little — say, AU$150 to AU$200 (S$147 to S$196 per week).

Total costs of a university education in Australia

Alright, let’s total up your final costs, inclusive of rent, tuition fees and living expenses:

 

 

3 years

Tuition fees

S$92,610 onwards

Rent

S$11,808 to S$52,920

Groceries and eating out

S$12,230 to S$42,806

Gas and electricity

S$5,351 to S$21,403

Phone and internet

S$3,058 to S$8,408

Public transport

S$2,293 to S$8,408

Entertainment

S$12,230 to S$22,932

Total costs

S$139,580

 

Assuming your child is getting a 3-year degree in Australia, you can expect to pay anywhere from S$139,580 to S$249,487. If your child is going for an honours degree (4 years) or wants to study Medicine (5 years), your costs will rise accordingly.

How much will the cost of a university education in Australia rise in the next few years?

Hold on, we’re not done yet! Like everything else in this world, the cost of university education is subject to inflation — and since your child will only be heading to university in 19 to 21 years time, this means you’ll definitely be paying a lot more than the prices cited in this article.

 

As the following graph shows, university tuition fees for international students in Australia have increased steadily over the past few years.

 

Image source.

 

More specifically, we’re looking at a 4.9% increase from 2016 to 2017, and a 6.2% increase from 2017 to 2018.

 

Based on these numbers, let’s project a 6% increase in course fees every year for the next 20 years. If price rise by a steady 6%, this works out to S$367,089 worth of course fees at the very minimum, with the maximum amount stretching beyond S$1M.

 

Tough pill to swallow, huh? On the bright side, experts have already spoken out to note that Australian universities have a “market concentration risk” because of their increasing reliance on overseas students. This means that it’s possible that universities will start cutting back on their international tuition fees (or at least, cap the fee hikes in the coming years) in order to reduce their reliance on the overseas student market.

 

That said, this is merely conjecture on our part — no one’s really able to predict the exact increase in university fees in the future, and it’s definitely wise to start saving up.

 

Have you started saving up for your child’s education? Have you ever considered the United Kingdom? Do you intend to encourage your child to study in a local or private university? Let us know.