THE cost of studying in Australia is one of the edges it has over other countries in attracting international students. Australia requires foreign students to pay full fees without government subsidy. An overseas student will have to pay an average of A$12,000 (HK$63,000) per year for a course fee, plus an additional A$500 to A$1,000 for textbooks and other course materials. The amount generally covers bachelor courses such as business, accounting, engineering and information technology. But for certain subjects such as dentistry, medicine or veterinary science, the cost is much higher, with charges of about $25,000 a year. The only private university in Australia, Bond University on the Queensland Gold Coast has higher fees at an average of $14,000 per year. But students can do a three-year course in two years for an annual fee of $21,000. While course fees are more or less the same across the country, living expenses vary in different cities. Studying in Sydney, a metropolitan city and the most popular destination among Asia-Pacific students and emigrants, is among the most expensive. Accommodation costs are high because of the demand, with an average of $200 per week for a two-bedroom house in the suburbs. Universities in Sydney can only provide limited accommodation for students and these are much cheaper - generally around $80 a week. But for institutions on the outskirts of Sydney, such as the University of Western Sydney, more on-campus accommodation is available for students, especially those from overseas. Costs here are around $70 a week. The cost of living in Brisbane is more affordable, although the city has developed at an unprecedented rate in the past few years. Rated as the most livable city in the country, Brisbane has a climate similar to Hong Kong's though with less humidity. Winters are warm and summers are relatively mild. The Queensland Government has decided to pump resources into Brisbane in an effort to turn the area into a cosmopolitan city and establish an international image. But, at the moment, the cost of living in Brisbane is still comparatively low. The main concern for overseas students - accommodation - is also taken care of by many universities, which provide low-cost on-campus living facilities. Living on campus costs around $60 a week. Accommodation costs are generally the bulk of the living expenses a student will have to pay. There are, however, generous student concessions which help defray things such as medical costs (tertiary institutions generally have a doctor's surgery on campus); public transport is cheaper with student concession card for buses and trains; student associations can give advice on low cost travel overseas. Another bonus is that students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week, as long as it does not interfere with studies.