application fee waiver in Australia
International students flock to Australia for a good education. Source: William West / AFP

Studying abroad can be an expensive affair, but there are ways to make the experience more wallet-friendly.

As an international student, there are way more things to consider such as flight tickets and moving costs. There are also student visas you need to apply for depending on the country.

So an application fee waiver in Australia might go a long way.

For students hoping to study in Australia, the visa application process can be quite straightforward but costs 650 Australian dollars or more per application.

There is a hefty list of requirements you have to meet as well, like proof of English proficiency and confirmation of enrolment — both of which have hidden costs too.

But once you pay and get your visa, the Student visa (subclass 500) will allow you to live, work (usually 40 hours per fortnight) and study in Australia for a maximum of five years.

Working while you study can help boost your income and pad your resume for future endeavours, so it’s a win-win. 

application fee waiver in Australia

Australia has a rich history and so many things to see and do. Application fee waivers can help you save up enough to enjoy the best the country has to offer. Source: Muhammad Farooq/AFP

Why is it important to get an application fee waiver in Australia?

Application fees are charged to pay for administration costs. 

For some universities and colleges, this fee helps deter applicants who are not serious about their admission, because only those committed will part with their money. 

Some argue that fees have the opposite effect as it makes it difficult for eager students to apply, especially when they have financial barriers to their education. 

On average, university application fees in Australia range from A$50 to A$100.

This might sound like a small amount in the grand scheme of things — for one application. Imagine if you want to apply to 10 universities. That’s A$1,000.

Consider all the other things you could use that money for, such as your fees and day-to-day expenses. 

After all, the cost of living in Australia is not cheap. But there are certainly ways to curb costs

application fee waiver in Australia

On average, university application fees in Australia are about 100 Australian dollars. Source: William West/AFP

What is the cost of living in Australia?

International students, especially those who might be moving out of their family home for the first time, need to learn how to deal with costs outside of the assumed tuition fees and rent.

Utility bills, phone bills, transport fees, food and groceries — they all add up. 

To help you calculate estimates, most universities have a breakdown of the cost of living in the cities where they are located. 

The University of Notre Dame Australia approximates that you would need A$350 to A$715 a week to live in Perth and A$525 to A$1,120 a week for Sydney.

Whereas the University of Wollongong maps out the average cost of living in Wollongong between A$435 and A$481 a week depending on the type of housing you choose. 

These figures are estimates so they could vary depending on the kind of lifestyle you have, but it gives a good basis for ensuring you have enough funds when studying in Australia. 

When you consider these numbers, wouldn’t you want an application fee waiver in Australia? Having that extra A$100 — or several of them — can go a long way. 

application fee waiver in Australia

Students stand beside a giant cardboard kangaroo measuring 32 x 18 metres at Monash University’s Science Centre as a NASA satellite passes over. Source: William West/AFP

Are there any other hidden costs for studying in Australia?

There are a few things international students would need to cough up for outside of the typical cost of living things mentioned above.

Believe it or not, there’s more you need to pay than your books and course materials as well. 

You must get the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), which will give students access to private health, travel, home and contents, and vehicle insurance in Australia.

Depending on the coverage you want, it can cost from A$478 for 12 months for a single person to A$4,200 for 12 months of family cover. 

Some students also opt to also get private health insurance and even private travel, home and vehicle insurance so that they can be covered in all aspects.

Some Australian schools also charge student services fees. 

The University of Sydney, for example, charges a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) which goes towards non-academic services and support programmes.

For 2023 the fee is A$163 for full-time and A$122.25 for part-time students. 

Thankfully, there are universities that don’t charge for this. 

For instance, the University of Melbourne does not charge most students for SSAF.

Some exceptions include Commonwealth-supported students (including University of Melbourne students on outbound exchange) and research TrainingProgram students (but there are exemptions for some). 

application fee waiver in Australia

Apart from application fee waivers, there are many additional costs which come with studying abroad. Source: Chip Somodevilla.

How to get an application fee waiver in Australia?

If you’re hoping to save your money to experience the best Australia has to offer, getting application fee waivers is a key step to take. And thankfully, it can be done. 

Sometimes it helps just to ask. If a university has this cost, approach them about payment options or exemptions, perhaps they could even assist you with payment plans or guide you to other options.

After all, you never know until you ask. 

For some universities, early application is the way to go. To entice applicants, schools dangle early admissions with perks such as an application fee waiver.

Keep your eyes peeled for offers like these, especially for your dream institutions. 

Checking out a university open day is another foolproof way to get an application fee waiver in Australia.

Recruiters might give you a discount code or help you apply on the spot to do away with any fees. This works for both physical and virtual open days.

Follow your favourite universities on their social media platforms to keep up to date with events. 

Current students of a university are also exempt from paying application fees, so if you are enrolled and are looking to further your studies, fret not. 

Here is a list of universities that allow you to request for an application fee waiver in Australia:

1. University of Sydney

Regularly featured in the top 50 for the world’s university rankings, this school is also first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability.

It also holds the fifth spot in the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2023.

International students may also register for a downloadable guide to their courses, admissions criteria and application process. 

2. The University of Adelaide

Recognised as one of Australia’s most respected research-intensive universities, this institution is located in an energetic city great for international students.

Adelaide has renowned festivals, cultural life and sporting events. Around 30% of the students come from over 100 countries

3. RMIT University

One of Australia’s original tertiary institutions, this university is thought to be a world leader in many areas, including art and design, architecture, education, engineering; development; computer science and information systems; business and management; and communication and media studies.

4. University of Melbourne 

This school also has exchange and study abroad programmes you can benefit from. Melbourne is a hub for international travellers and many foreigners feel right at home here.

The University of Melbourne has an anti-racism commitment, diversity and inclusion, as well as reconciliation goals.  

5. University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

UTS takes a global approach to its education and has globally ranked degrees that set students up for success after graduation.

In Australia, they rank as the number one Young University and are in the top 150 universities in the world.

There is also a wide range of scholarships available for high-achieving students, both international and domestic. 

application fee waiver in Australia

It is possible to get an application fee waiver in Australia. Source: Damien Meyer / AFP

What if I don’t qualify for an application fee waiver in Australia?

If you don’t meet the requirements for the application fee waiver requests for the above universities, here are five schools who do not require application fees at all: 

  1. UOW College Australia
  2. CQUniversity Australia
  3. The University of Notre Dame Australia
  4. Bond University
  5. University of South Australia