Accommodation in Australia

On Campus vs Off Campus Accommodation: Which Is Better?

Engage in understanding the pros and cons of on-campus vs. off-campus accommodation in Australia. Choose the best living option for your college experience!

Published on: Jun 4, 2024




Adjusting to a completely different environment in a different country; Australia can be overwhelming for a student, especially for an international student. Making a decision to move to Australia itself involves changes in the overall lifestyle of an individual. Therefore it is advised to research and analyse the after arrival aspects in Australia. Having found and applied to a university is not all that needs to be done. There is an important aspect and the most important is to find the perfect accommodation in Australia option in the country for international students. The choice between on-campus and off-campus can be impactful in determining your college experience. There are more things that get affected including daily routine social interactions, academic performance, and personal growth of an individual. Therefore, understanding the differences and advantages of each option is essential for making an informed choice. To explore the options in this concern, you can read the further part of the blog. 


Do universities provide their own accommodation facilities in Australia?


You must get to know that the universities in Australia are benefitting students in finding the best place for their stay during the duration of their course. The universities provide accommodation facilities from on-campus dormitories (also known as halls of residence or college accommodation) to off-campus apartments or houses managed by them. But there might be a few universities having limited space for providing accommodation for international students so they often recommend you to apply prior to your arrival. The accommodation facilities can vary in terms of cost, amenities, and availability, so it's advisable to check with the specific university online because after your arrival can be troublesome. 



On-campus housing options for students at Australian universities typically include:


  1. Halls of Residence or Colleges: These are the4 traditional and most prevailing on-campus accommodation provided by the university. It offers shared rooms or a single hall with communal bathrooms and shared kitchen facilities. They are often located within the walking distance of the universities, giving a flexible access to libraries, academic buildings and other campus facilities. 


  1. Apartment-Style Accommodation: There are universities that provide on-campus apartments or townhouses to its students. These are more independent than traditional halls, often including private or shared bedrooms, living areas, and kitchens. They seem to be more private than the communal way of living. 


  1. Modern Purpose-Built Accommodation: There are a few of the universities in Australia that help students by building modern, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) facilities on or near the campus. These buildings are designed while keeping in mind the needs of students, by offering amenities such as en-suite bathrooms, study areas, communal lounges, and sometimes extras like gyms or study rooms. 



Other facilities available to students through on-campus accommodation:


  1. Access to Campus Facilities: You easily get access to campus amenities such as libraries, sports facilities, cafes, and student services. Addition to this, you can contribute to any event, or seminar activities to be held on campus. Near accommodation can help in fostering network development and feel a sense of community in new areas. 


  1. Support Services and Community Life: You can reach out to the university’s support services any time convenient for you regarding the housing process. University’s  student accommodation in Australia facilitates everything to make you feel comfortable. They may also offer organised social events, academic support programs, and access to resident advisors or mentors.



What if universities do not have accommodation facilities?


Do not worry or panic, in this concern there are other accommodation options available to students. You can choose amongst these options if the university does not have their own housing facilities. 


The options are as follows:


1. Private Rentals: Students can rent accommodation privately in the surrounding area of the university, or in any nearby suburb. This could include apartments, houses, or shared accommodation.

2. Student Accommodation Providers: You can look for private providers that specialise in providing accommodation for international students near universities. These providers often offer purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) with facilities tailored to student needs.

3. Homestay: Some students opt for homestay arrangements where they live with local families. This can provide a cultural immersion experience and often includes meals and support from the host family.

4. Temporary Accommodation: In some cases, students may initially stay in temporary accommodation such as hostels or short-term rentals while they find more permanent housing.

5. Shared Accommodation: These are very convenient to students as they choose to share accommodation with peers or friends. It involves renting a house, or an apartment collectively, sharing its rent, utility cost utilities and other expenses. 



Comparing both the options : On-campus and Off-campus



Cost consideration


On-campus: The expected costs include room rents and meal plans, and these are a bit just confined till here, you may require to pay for the utilities  such as electricity, water, and internet. Meal plans, often required for on-campus residents, provide a convenient way to dine without the hassle of cooking or grocery shopping.

There are many students whose costs of housing and meals get bundled with tuition fees to study in Australia, as they might have financial aid to these expenses, making on-campus living more manageable to those who rely on scholarships, grants or student loans. 


Off-campus: The off-campus accommodation requires an individual to budget properly every month as they are required to manage all the expenses on their own. They do not get access to prepared meals. Grocery expenses also replace the fixed cost of a meal plan, potentially leading to variable monthly food costs. Addition to which the utility costs are not included in the rent. 

Off-campus living can either help in saving money or spending unpredictably can be a chance. The factors such as transportation to and from campus, furniture, and security deposits are other evident to consider. Those who like living independently in the city can opt for this housing option. 



Convenience and Accessibility


On-campus: You get more facilities when you stay on-campus, since you just need to travel for a very short distance, you can access the campus facilities at your feasibility. The short walking distance to lecture halls and study centres reduces travel time and allows for a more flexible schedule, making it easier to attend early morning classes or late-night study sessions.

The other facilities include the access to gyms, dining halls, and health services, The convenience of having everything within reach fosters a supportive environment that encourages student engagement and participation in campus activities.


Off-campus: You need to access smartcards for commuting to universities on public transports. The distance can vary based on your location which takes your time and money. It's crucial to evaluate the reliability and cost of transportation, as well as potential traffic conditions, to ensure timely arrival for classes and campus events. 

Else you want to explore the outer environment of the city then you get the access to local amenities such as  grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues. This can provide a broader range of dining and shopping options compared to on-campus facilities.



Independence and Privacy


On-campus: Expecting privacy here, honestly there may be a few problems in maintaining personal space within shared accommodation. Since these are sort of dormitories and shared spaces, where students might have a roommate or suitemates. You are required to share kitchen, bathrooms leading to compromising privacy. Adhering to the guidelines or the set of rules to be followed to maintain decorum, you can feel a sense of restrictiveness. 


Off-campus: Since you get the option to choose between shared housing and single room accommodation, you can choose to live alone, or even in student-focused apartment complexes that balance social opportunities with personal space. Students can enjoy the freedom to establish their own routines, host guests as they please, and create a living environment that suits their personal preferences. This independence can be especially appealing to those looking to experience adult responsibilities, manage their own household, and develop a greater sense of self-reliance.



Social Life and Community


On-campus: The university housing options can restrict a student in exploring the outer environment a bit but there are  numerous opportunities to engage in community events and activities. The shared spaces like dormitory lounges, study areas, and dining halls serve as a place for common gathering helping to develop a community within. Whereas, organising social events can foster a sense of community and belonging among students, encouraging them to connect with peers from diverse backgrounds


Off-campus: You will have to move out and put in more effort to make connections and engage in community. But it involves students in enjoying the outer environment of the cities, accessing them the opportunity to meet and interact with a broader range of people, including non-students, professionals, and community members, which can broaden their social horizons and networks.



Types of accommodation available at various universities across Australia


University On-Campus Accommodation Off-Campus Accommodation
University of Melbourne Halls of Residence, Colleges (e.g., Trinity College, Janet Clarke Hall) Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., UniLodge, Student Village), Homestay, Shared houses
University of Sydney Residential Colleges (e.g., St. Andrew’s College, Wesley College), University Housing Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., Iglu, Urbanest), Homestay, Shared houses
Australian National University (ANU) Residential Halls (e.g., Bruce Hall, Burton & Garran Hall), Self-catered Apartments Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., UniLodge, Canberra Student Accommodation), Homestay, Shared houses
University of Queensland (UQ) Residential Colleges (e.g., St. John’s College, Emmanuel College), Student Apartments Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., Scape, Student One), Homestay, Shared houses
Monash University Residential Halls (e.g., Howitt Hall, Deakin Hall), Apartments Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., Urbanest, Student Village), Homestay, Shared houses
University of New South Wales (UNSW) Colleges (e.g., New College, Warrane College), University Apartments Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., UniLodge, Iglu), Homestay, Shared houses
University of Western Australia (UWA) Residential Colleges (e.g., St. George’s College, Trinity Residential College) Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., The Boulevard, Campus Perth), Homestay, Shared houses
University of Adelaide Residential Colleges (e.g., St. Mark’s College, Aquinas College), University Village Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., Atira, Scape), Homestay, Shared houses
University of Technology Sydney (UTS) University Residences (e.g., Yura Mudang, Gumal Ngurang) Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., Urbanest, Iglu), Homestay, Shared houses
University of Tasmania Residential Halls (e.g., Christ College, John Fisher College), Apartments Private rentals, PBSA (e.g., Hobart Student Accommodation), Homestay, Shared houses




Which accommodation option is best? In the blog above we have tried to mention the benefits and drawbacks of both the accommodation in Australia options. It is you who need to research and make a decision that aligns your preferences and financial needs. If you prefer convenience, a strong sense of community, and integrated support services, on-campus housing might be the best choice. Whereas, if you prioritise independence, privacy, and the potential for cost savings, off-campus living could be more suitable for you in that case. Allow yourself to take time and evaluate options available.

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