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How much does uni really cost?

14/04/2022 | 5 MINS

For some, choosing to go to uni might be a no brainer and for others, there could be a considerable amount of research or weighing up your options first. It can be a big decision – for your future and your finances. And how do you make a decision? By making sure you have all the information available to consider the best choice for you.

So, we’re getting real about what uni will actually cost you – tuition fees, potential costs of living while studying, and any other fees that might come your way throughout your university degree.

Are you an international student looking for information on costs of uni? Check out our Course Guide.

I’m an Australian or New Zealand citizen (or holder of an Australian permanent resident visa or humanitarian visa) looking to start my undergrad degree

If this is you, you’ll likely be enrolling at UWA in what’s called a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP). As a Commonwealth-supported student you'll pay a student contribution amount towards the cost of your course.

How much will I pay?

The amount that you pay is determined by the Australian Government, this is based on:

  • the number of units you enrol in
  • the discipline of the units

Note that a standard full-time enrolment is normally four units per semester (eight units per year) and a standard unit is worth six credit points.

We’ve broken down the approximate costs per unit for various study areas. These are based on the 2022 Commonwealth-Supported Student Contribution Rates which are subject to change by the Australian Government.

 Unit discipline How much you pay each year for standard full-time load (48 credit points)  Approximate cost per unit (6 credit points) 
 Law, Accounting, Commerce, Economics, Administration, Communications, Society and Culture  $14,630 $1,828
 Agriculture Education, Postgraduate Clinical Psychology, English, Mathematics and Statistics, Nursing, Indigenous and Foreign Languages  $3,985 $498
 Allied Health, Other Health, Built Environment, Computing, Visual and Performing Arts, Professional Pathway Psychology and Professional Pathway Social Work, Engineering, Science, Surveying, Environmental Studies, Pathology  $8,021 $1,002
 Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science $11,401 $1,425

For an estimate of your fees, visit the fees calculator and select the combination of units you are interested in studying.

How do I pay?

You can pay your student contribution amount upfront if you choose. But most Australian students choose to defer all or part via the HECS-HELP loan scheme.

HECS-HELP, an Australian Government Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), allows you to defer all or part of your student contribution until you commence employment and are earning over a certain amount. So, you won’t have to pay anything back until you’ve landed a job and the required amount will be taken as part of your tax.

hand on notebook while studying

I’m an Australian or New Zealand citizen (or holder of an Australian permanent resident visa or humanitarian visa) and I’m looking to start my postgrad degree

For a postgrad degree, your tuition fees may vary depending on what you choose to study and the type of student you are.

How much will I pay?

Again, this really depends on your degree and units which you can estimate using the fees calculator. You may also have the option to enrol in a CSP so that your tuition fees are subsidised by the Australian Government.

For example, if you’re looking to study the two-year (48 credit point) Master of Public Health, here’s what you’d be looking at paying in a CSP compared to a Full Fee Paying Place.

Mater of Public Health Amount you pay per year of full-time study
Full Fee Paying Place $23,900
Commonwealth Supported Place $8,825**

** Units in some courses are charged at a discounted rate, and are not displayed in the Fee Calculator for Commonwealth Supported students.

What are Full Fee Paying Places (FFP)?

A FFP means that you’ll need to pay the full course tuition fee. You may be eligible to access the FEE-HELP loan scheme to defer paying your fees. Your employer may also consider assisting you with the cost of your course if it’s related to your current position.

Research Training Program (RTP)

The RTP provides Fees Offset Scholarships to domestic students undertaking doctorates (up to four years full time or part-time equivalent) and master’s by research (up to two years full time or part-time equivalent).

Cost of living

In addition to the cost of your university degree, you might find there are some varying costs for getting to campus, making sure you’re well fed, staying connected (i.e. scrolling TikTok for hours) and making sure you have a great time getting out and about – it’s all about study and social life balance!

If you’re not able to live with your parents or a family member while you study, or you just want to wake up 5 minutes before your lecture starts, UWA has five residential colleges right next to campus that offer guaranteed accommodation for all new full-time students.

Scholarships and financial help

Has reading this article made your palms sweaty worrying about the costs associated with uni? Don’t worry! There are a number of scholarships that can help you with the cost of study, relocation and living expenses. UWA awards over $6 million in scholarships every year (more than any other Western Australian uni), and it’s not just for the super smart set. There are scholarships for everything from academic and sporting excellence, to global experience, leadership, and social impact, as well as for women in non-traditional fields, Indigenous students, regional and remote students and scholarships to provide opportunities to students experiencing challenges to help realise every students’ potential. 
There are so many available, so have a browse and you’re bound to find one that could have your name on it!

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