Living costs and other expenses

Examples of Housing Options and Costs

On Campus

Full-board $296 - $435
Self-catering $218 - $238

For more information on accommodation visit JCU Accommodation Services.

Students who have booked accommodation on campus may have to find independent accommodation off campus for one or two nights if arriving before the college residence opens. The International Student Support team assist students with booking temporary accommodation. The JCU Orientation program, introducing new students to life at the university, is held the week before classes commence each teaching period. All international students are required to attend.

Off Campus

1 bedroom flat/unit $230 - $275
2 bedroom flat/unit $295 - $350
3 bedroom flat/unit $320 - $350
4 bedroom house $430 - $465
2 bedroom townhouse $280

All costs listed are median weekly rents for Cairns and Townsville, and are subject to change. Based on postcodes: 4870, 4811
Sourced from the Residential Tenancy Authority Queensland, September 2016.

Estimated Costs

The following table provides a guide to the approximate cost of living in Cairns and Townsville.

ExpenseApproximate cost (A$)
Rent (share only) $120 - $150
Electricity $10 - $30
Internet, Mobile $20 - $55
Transport/Travel $10 - $50
Homestay $180-$230

All costs are approximate and are subject to change.

*Based on a privately rented share house.

**JCU has free wireless Internet available to students on campus. It is best to purchase a SIM card or Australian mobile number when you arrive in Australia, as using your home phone number will incur high costs.

2017 fees

To find out more about accommodation available on-campus in Townsville, visit: JCU Halls. To get an idea of rental house prices, visit, or

Field Trips and Placements

Some degrees and subjects include field trips and out-of-town placements which may have extra expenses including transport, accommodation and food. Students with children may also need to consider additional childcare expenses for times they will be away.

JCU Student Association

Membership of the JCU Student Association will give you access to a range of specialist student services, plus discounts for food, sport, office and recreational facilities on campus.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

OSHC is insurance to assist international students meet the costs of medical and hospital care that they may need while in Australia. As an international student, it is a condition of your student visa that you have OSHC for the entire duration of your stay in Australia.

Student Services and Amenities Fee

JCU introduced the Student Services and Amenities fee (SSA Fee) from 1 January 2012. The income from the fee is used to provide range of student support services and facilities.

Stationery and Equipment


Photocopying and printing costs need to be included in general study costs. There may be other expenses, depending on your course, including workshops, subject handbooks, reading material, laboratory manuals, stationery, calculator, lab coat and laboratory breakage deposit.


Be prepared to spend around $800-$1000 each year on text books. Co-op Bookshops on the Townsville and Cairns campuses offer student discounts on textbooks, and have some second-hand text books.

Computer Equipment

Although there are many computer work stations in the libraries and computer laboratories on campus, for convenience you may want to have your own computer.