Are Chinese students paying too much to study in Australia?



The cost of studying in Australia is higher than in any other country. Photo source:



“I just worked for five hours, so I am a little tired.” Said Lily, who is an international student studying in the University of Sydney and has been in Sydney for five months.

About three months ago, she fund a part-time job to sell box lunch in the train station, and she could get 10 dollar every hour. “Though the salary is very low, it can reduce the pressure of my life.”

Actually, the salary of this kind of part-time job is below the average, which is about 14.5 dollar per hour. But most of the international students choose to find a part-time to reduce the pressure of their life just like Lily.

“I can use this money to buy an apartment about 100 Square meters with three bedrooms!”

“I am not the second generation of the rich, and I just come from an ordinary family. My tuition fee is AU$40,000 per year and the cost of living every year is about AU$15,000, which exchanged to Chinese Yuan is about 280,000 Yuan.

So, when I finish my two years’ study, I have to cost about 560,000 Yuan. In my hometown, which is a small city in China, I can use this money to buy an apartment about 100 Square meters with three bedrooms!”

According to a recent report, the cost of study in Australia is higher than in any other country such as the US and UK. The total cost for international student study in Australia, including annual fees and the cost of living, is calculated at USD 42,000 a year.


屏幕快照 2016-04-28 上午12.00.58
Chinese students have a large proportion in USYD


Also, Australia has the most proportion of international students—about 20 percent of the country’s higher education enrolments are international, compared to the global average of about 7 percent. Whenever you walk around your campus, there are always people of different nationalities speaking different languages. Among those, Chinese students have a large proportion.

“My parents pay my tuition fee and the cost of living. Actually, they pay the fee by their saving. So I choose to earn some money during my spare time to reduce the pressure of my family.” Lily said with the phone in her hand.

” I often pay attention to the rate and exchange some money”

“I just exchanged my Chinese Yuan to 5ooo Australian Dollar using the app in my phone. The exchange rate of the Australian Dollar to Chinese Yuan is changing in recent months, so I often pay attention to the rate and exchange some money for my study and life when the rate is appropriate to me. Actually, this can help me save some money.”


A screenshot of Lily’s phone when she was exchanging Chinese Yuan to Australian dollar



According to Australian dollar rate, there is a bad news for Chinese students, which means that Chinese students are now likely to get less Australian dollar in exchange for their money currency.

The international student fee t is 140 per cent higher than the domestic fee

The universities in Australia publish both the domestic and International students’ fee on the school website, including the University of Sydney. In the website, take the Master of Commence as an example, which has a large proportion of Chinese students, we can see the study fee for International students is AU$40,000 per year, compared to the domestic student fee which is AU$29,500 per year.

This means that the international student fee in this subject is 140 per cent higher than the domestic fee. Actually, all the subjects have the same phenomenon—international students have to pay more than domestic students.

Simply put, international students are big business for universities and for the economy. Even so, the university increases the international tuition fee every year.

The number of progressed application for the fellowship is limited

The Australia Awards are international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian government, which are available to nationals and citizens from eligible countries, which is Asia, the Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

 The Australia Awards Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are funded by the Australian Government, and aims to support the internationalization of the Australian higher education especially the postgraduate-level study and research.

There are also eligible countries, which are in the round of Americas, Asia, Europe and Middle East. The application for the scholarship and fellowship of 2017 is now open and will be closed on 30 June 2016, and it must be submitted using the Endeavour Online application system.

Though there are different kinds of scholarships and fellowships for international students to apply, the number of progressed application is limited. So it is not a good way for international students especially Chinese students to reduce the pressure of studying in Australia.

 “The universities see us as cash cows!”

About two decades ago, there weren’t too many Chinese students, while in recent years, we can see a marked difference. More and more Chinese students come to Australia to have a higher degree.

Some of them want to have a high quality of education, some want to become the permanent residence in Australia, and others may want to avoid the intense competition. No matter what reasons, more and more Chinese students choose to study in Australia.


Image source:


The average international students pay is around AU$42,000 annually, about 2 times as much as domestic students. International students contributed about AU$15 billion to the Australian every year, which makes the higher education the third biggest export.


For the universities in Australia, it is a good way to raise their revenue. So we will not surprised to here the Chinese students saying “the universities see us as cash cows!”


Congying Li

SID: 450487970

Word Count: 950 words


4 thoughts on “Are Chinese students paying too much to study in Australia?

  1. Hi Congying!

    I find your topic very interesting since I am an international student myself and I believe that the high disparity between our tuition fee rates and that of local students is indeed an issue worth looking into.
    I like the fact that you focused on the story of one Chinese student who has been going through challenges just to continue her education at the University of Sydney. It humanizes the topic and it makes the story engaging.

    One thing that I would like to find more about the topic though is the reason for the high tuition fees for international students. That’s a question that still bugs me until now. It would have made the story even better if you had an interview with a university official explaining the huge difference between rates for local and international students.

    It’s good that you hyperlinked to other sources of information and I like how your highlighted striking quotes. It would have also been great, however, if you used a few subheadings in your blog to improve its flow and scannability. I also suggest the use of charts or graphics to represent your numerical data to allow visual comprehension for the readers.

    Overall, your blog is great and I look forward to reading more of your work soon! 🙂


  2. Hi, Congying. I like your feature story because it is a common problem that Chinese international students faced and it also a reflection of their overseas life.

    Your headline is clear, which uses a question to attract readers to think about your topic. You also use sub-headings to separate your story into chunks, this is really making the story more clear and easy to navigate. Using tags to categorize your story makes readers easy to browse. Effective use of pictures makes your story more vivid. Hyperlinks let readers get related information and improve the credibility of your story. For example, when you talk about the cost of study in Australia, you use an official report to support your argument.

    I notice that there is a mistake in your sub-heading “the international student fee t is 140 percent higher than the domestic fee”. I think you might forget to delete the “t”. In addition, I have a suggestion: if you want to feature on the high tuition fee and living cost of Chinese students in Australia, you should interview more than one students to make your story more comprehensive. Your quote is very good, it is just a suggestion. Anyway, well done.

    Jing Yu (Jasmine)


  3. Hi Chris! As an international student, the subject matter of your feature article resonates with me deeply. I realize it is a universal phenomenon, not only exists in Australian universities. Consequently, I think it is a newsworthy feature.

    In terms of the content, you provide many valuable information and data, and the interview is quite good, which help me to know the real thoughts and worries of Chinese students.
    But a suggestion is that, since the high tuition has raised a debate, except for the opinions and thoughts of international students, I think perhaps you interview some university leaders and staffs to gain more comprehensive information.

    The pictures you choose are intriguing, in particular the last image, you use a quite humorous way to present the current situation that international students pay far more than local students. And you use several significant, remarkable and concise sentences to guide the reading, which is good. The appropriate online delivery makes more audiences easier to engage in your story.

    It is a great feature article. Hope to read more follow up stories!


  4. I was attracted by this post because I am an international student from China. The article is related to me and i really wanna know more in this topic.

    You gave an interview on the international student Lily and to show her life in Sydney. It’s a good idea to start the story with her experience because it can gain a lot of international students’ attention and they have the deep feeling of it.

    From where i stand, it could be better to listen to more voice. This topic is like a discussion. Generally, most of Chinese students here will say “yes” but comparing to the Chinese students in the UK, America or some other countries, “paying too much” or not is still a question we have to discuss.

    And i think making use of more statistics in this article can make it more convictive.

    Further more, for me, I want to know more about if it is worth that international students pay so much money learning in Australia or in other countries.


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