Student finances


During your time as a student, there might be a range of expenses you have to budget for – and these can really add up.

See the table below to estimate some of your expenses for 2019/20:

  Estimated costs for one month Estimated costs for 12 months
  Lower end Upper end Lower end Upper end
Off-campus accommodation $480 $1760 $5760 $21,120
Food $320 $1120 $3840 $13,440
Utilities (gas, electricity, phone, internet) $195 $762 $2340 $9144
Public transport $60 $220 $720 $2640
Social activities $80 $600 $960 $7200
Personal items $100 $375 $1200 $4500
Health and medical $130 $325 $1560 $3900
Total $1365 $5162 $16,380 $61,944

Saving money

While these numbers can seem intimidating, it’s possible to save money, even at the lower end of the estimated costs table.

Student Services and UQ Union have budget workshops and advisors to help you with your finances.

You can book an appointment with an advisor for one-on-one help, or sign up for a workshop.

UQ Union can also help eligible students apply for Centrelink payments, or arrange for a one-off emergency loan.

Whether you’re trying to establish a budget, or you’re finding it difficult to manage your expenses, we encourage all students to make use of the support resources on campus.

Student discounts

More generally, student discounts or concessions are available for a range of goods and services, including:

  • software and technology
  • public transport
  • cinema tickets
  • museums
  • banks and financial services
  • select food and drink venues
  • select hairdressers and barbers.

Discounts are usually only available to full-time students, but you should check with each service provider for more information.

If you're an international student, we highly recommend you open an Australian bank account. Many Australian banks offer accounts with no withdrawal or account fees for international students.

Public transport 

Once you enrol, and if you're eligible, you can apply for public transport concessions through the Translink website.

Read the Translink terms and conditions carefully. It will be helpful to know that:

  • Yes, UQ is registered with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
  • Yes, our courses have been developed and accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework.
  • If you are enrolled to study on a campus, you are an internal student.
  • You are a full-time student if you enrol in 6 units or more each semester.

Public transport concessions are only for the state of Queensland – if you travel interstate, you may not be allowed to claim student concessions.

Read more and apply on the Translink website

You'll need a student ID to apply for concession fares. We'll tell you where to collect your ID at the next step: 'Prepare for Semester'.

How can we help?

Learn how to live on a student income and get some support:

Student Services workshops Meet with a Welfare OfficerFunding opportunities

Report any problems you experience with the Starting at UQ website.