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The average cost for university education in Australia.

Striving for a place at university is the goal for many students across Australia. With recent data from the Productivity Commission revealing 47.8 percent of Australians aged under 25 are enrolled in a bachelor degree, it makes sense to know how much uni fees are in Australia and to plan for how they’ll be paid.


It’s not only school leavers and young Australians looking to further their education at university, because higher education is no longer viewed as a one-off. Many Australians consider updating their skills as a journey to make sure they stay relevant in today’s quickly changing work environment.


By continuing further education at different stages throughout your career, you’re able to adapt and be flexible with change. Factoring university costs into your life is important so you know what financial commitments you’ve got ahead of you. In this article, we take a look at the average cost for university in Australia for undergraduate degrees.


Education needs for future generations


Emerging generations are likely to spend more years in formal education than ever before. McCrindle’s Education Future Report 2021 identified that education will no longer be life-stage dependant, but instead will be a life-long reality. In fact, 74 percent of Gen Z believe life-long learning will be essential to future-proof their career.


Workers of the future will need to be flexible so education will remain a part of their lives allowing them to adapt to the changing needs of a continually evolving work environment.


Recent fee changes to the university sector


The federal government made significant changes to the way it funds universities in 2021 in the hope that the changes will encourage more students to study certain fields where there are more job opportunities.


That means the cost of some degrees has dramatically increased while others have become much more affordable.


Humanities degrees like law, economics, commerce, communications or visual arts have seen significant rises. While science, health, architecture, environmental science, IT, engineering, agriculture, maths, teaching, nursing, clinical psychology, English and language degrees have seen a fee decrease since the beginning of 2021.


The upshot of this is you need to know how much the specific area of study you’re considering costs. It could have a significant impact on the uni debt you’ll be liable for. So while it’s fine to consider an undergraduate degree that may cost a little more, it’s also a good idea to plan how you’ll pay for it.


The Department of Education publishes the bands for each type of degree which can give you an indication of just how variable costs will be for you depending on which area of study you choose to pursue and gives you a good idea around the cost of an undergraduate degree in Australia.


Student contribution band

2021 maximum Student contribution amount (per EFTSL)

Band 4: Law, accounting, administration, economics, commerce, communications, society and culture


Band 3: Dentistry, medicine, veterinary science


Band 2: Architecture, IT, other health, allied health, creative arts, engineering, science, environmental studies, professional pathway psychology, professional pathway social work


Band 1: Agriculture, English, mathematics, teaching, clinical psychology, languages, nursing


Student contribution bands and maximum contribution amounts from 1 January 2021, Department of Education


What’s the average cost of uni in Australia?


The concept of “free” university study in Australia doesn’t really exist anymore. Almost all domestic undergraduate students, and postgraduate students pay a fee to complete their studies.


However, most Australian students are Commonwealth supported, meaning they are not liable to pay the full tuition fee for a course. The Australian government pays a portion of the tuition fee. But what portion that is, depends on the course.


Domestic students are then liable for the remainder known as the domestic tuition fee (DTF). While it’s great that the government is contributing, the fact remains that university education is expensive.


Most students have the option to defer the payment of part or all of their tuition fees using FEE-HELP. You will then pay the amount back through the taxation system or voluntary repayments once you start working.


Many factors come into play such as the course you study, the university you choose and the number of units you need to complete when calculating how much your uni course will be.


Below is an indication of what you might expect to pay in average uni fees in Australia:

  • Undergraduate Bachelor Degree – $20,000 to $45,000*
  • Postgraduate Master’s Degree – $22,000 to $50,000*
  • Doctoral Degree – $18,000 to $42,000*

*Prices are from July 2021 taken from


But tuition fees are just one part of the equation when it comes to considering costs for going to uni. You also need to factor in costs for things such as:

  • Books and equipment
  • Living costs including on campus accommodation or rent
  • Student fees
  • Transport
  • Phone and internet

For many who don’t have the funds to support these indirect costs of their uni education, it will mean having to borrow money.


Impact of uni debt in Australia


There’s no doubt university education is expensive. The vast majority of students will carry a debt long after they’ve finished their degree. And that debt can negatively impact other life decisions such as purchasing a home, a car, or even medical treatment years after graduation.


Planning for the expected uni debt is essential. If you’re considering a tertiary education you need to understand that debt acquired at university can carry financial and social burdens later in life.


Investing for university education


The good news is that it’s possible to pay for university education without it impacting yours or your children’s financial wellbeing and ability to achieve goals later in life.


Futurity’s range of education saving products allow parents and grandparents to tax-effectively save and invest so they can support their whole family’s education objectives.


Higher education is an investment you make for the future. Research consistently shows that a university degree is worth the cost. On average, uni graduates earn far more over the course of their professional career than peers who didn’t get a university degree.


Get in touch with Futurity to find out the investment options available and those that will best help you reach your education objectives. Find a solution to help you confidently adapt to the changing nature of uni education in Australia and be financially prepared for the future.