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A Student Guide to Facing the Cost of Living Crisis in 2024

Stressing about the cost of living crisis and where it leaves you as a student? Section Editor Holly Mitchell interweaves information from MQ’s Student Accommodation affiliations and current student living situations to compile a Grapeshot-approved guide to getting through 2024!




Cost of living. The three words we tire of seeing within the media, as it becomes brutal to hear the latest victim to rising interest rates and constant inflation. It might be something as seemingly trivial as Coles recently offering a “special saving” of two bags of potato chips for $11 [1]. Or it may just be the fact that most university aged Australians can see a part of themselves in ‘Q+A’ guest Bella Mitchell-Sears, a former University of Melbourne student who ultimately dropped out due to being unable to afford both an education and food for the table [2]. 


Poor government management regarding housing and the aftermath of COVID-19 have been widely credited for creating the cost of living crisis in Australia [3]. It feels as though the damage has been done and is currently irreversible. We as MQ students (especially those of us living out of home) are left wondering where this leaves us for the foreseeable future in regard

to balancing our savings, studies, and quality of life. 


To understand this from a student perspective, I reached out to my fellow Grapeshot team members and MQ students to survey just how affected they are feeling by the cost of living crisis. Of the 17 responders, 76.5% claimed to have felt the brunt of the cost of living crisis.


With this intriguing result in mind, I went ahead and collated some information and tips for students seeking new accommodation for 2024 for your convenience!


MQ’s Student Accommodation Recommendations 


Finding accommodation away from home for the first time can be a daunting task (trust me, I have been there and done that). However, I can highly recommend, through firsthand experience, trying student accommodation, especially if it is your first year at MQ. It operates as a fantastic stepping stone to making friends in a new community, as well as a safe and supportive environment to reside in. 


I have compiled the most affordable living options within each of the student accommodations affiliated with MQ [4]. While most of these student accommodation options are beneficial as they include utilities (i.e., electricity, power, water, and Internet bills), they arguably fail to offer students suitable personal space at the current advertised rates. But hey, things that work for some may not work for others and vice versa, so definitely check out these accommodations online for yourself!


MQ’s Student Accommodation Affiliations

*Most Affordable Option Listed on Website

2023 Room Rates Per Week

Central Courtyard Accommodation – Twin Room

  • Open plan bedroom (i.e., no doors). 

  • King single bed.

  • Shared ensuite and kitchenette.

  • Rent includes all utilities



$200

Morling Residual College Macquarie – Studio A Room

  • Single bed.

  • Private ensuite and kitchenette.

  • Rent includes all utilities and weekly cleaning. 


$455

Dunmore Lang College – Standard Room

  • Price includes catering. 

  • King single bed.

  • Sink and vanity unit in bedroom.

  • Communal ensuite and kitchenette.

  • Rent includes all utilities.



$570

Robert Menzies College – A Room in the ABCD Block 

  • Price includes catering.

  • Single bed.

  • Shared ensuite and kitchenette.

  • Rent includes all utilities. 



$521

Student Village North Ryde – East Ensuite (5 Bedrooms)

  • King single bed.

  • Private ensuite.

  • Shared kitchenette.

  • Rent includes all utilities.



$315

Iglu Chatswood – Shared Apartment (6 Bedrooms)

  • King single bed.

  • Private ensuite.

  • Shared kitchenette.

  • Rent includes all utilities. 



$519

Dayman Apartments – Twin Shared Bedroom Apartment

  • Single bunk bed.

  • Shared ensuite and kitchenette.

  • Rent includes all utilities



$330



What Do the Grapeshot Team and MQ Students Recommend?


Us MQ students commute far and wide to receive our education. Whether it be further North than the Central Coast, or out as West as Greystanes or Mount Druitt, not all of us can afford the convenience of being a hair away from campus. If a little travel does not bother you, consider finding your new home within the following suburbs!


North Kellyville 


Why North Kellyville? It is a safe, quiet, and affordable suburb in comparison to what can be found closer to the CBD. This North Kellyville advocate pays $305 for their rent per week, which is a considerable positive. 


However, the fact that it is so distant from the CBD can be a drawback, especially since the public transport is poor according to my little birdie. They write: “The buses personally oppress me by being late all the time and for why? There aren't that many people using the service so why are they late?”. 


Chatswood


Ahh, Chatty. I myself am well familiar with this suburb, having lived there for two years and still working there to this day. Both of my anonymous sources praise Chatswood for its convenience; given that the access to public transport is top notch and there are plenty of shops available that stock daily essentials, it is easy to understand why. One source adds: “[Chatswood is] suitable for people from Asia due to its similar living style, and the rental available is tight, so if you want to rent in Chatswood remember to grab it before it disappears!”. It is also a breeze getting to campus. Just hop on the metro for less than 10 minutes, and you’re there! 


Common issues with Chatswood relate to how busy it can become during peak hours. Additionally, one source tells me they pay $340 for their rent per week but will not be able to renew their contract by the end of this year due to an increase in the rent.


Petersham


If exploring Sydney’s infamous CBD in your free time sounds like you, Petersham might be the go! Our resident Petershamian pays $300 per week for their flat that they share with another person. Being so close to the CBD, this person cites it as an absolute positive to be so close to a variety of restaurants, parks, and shops. And of course, it is easy to get around with plenty of public transport available in the area. 


Other than the recurrent issue of rising rates in the CBD (and everywhere), Petersham might not be ideal for those wanting to avoid being under a flight path. Perhaps one could get used to a soaring engine becoming distant white noise?


Macquarie Park


Still want to be next door neighbours with campus? Finding a flat outside of student accommodation that keeps you conveniently close may be the way! Two sources applauded Macquarie Park for its closeness to work and class commitments, as well as its abundant nature and safe community. Both living in flats with roommates, one source pays $300 per week for rent, while the other pays $440 per week. 


Busy traffic was pointed out as a key fault with Macquarie Park. Additionally, the proximity to campus may raise issues, as one source writes: “my university and work life can often become inextricably connected to my private life”. Poor maintenance of flats was also cited as an issue, due to the condition certain rentals are left in as tenants come and go. However, because of such conditions, this source adds: “[this] flat I'm currently in is one of the cheapest I've moved into”. It is important to note that this is the source that pays $440 per week for their rent. 


While there is a chance your place may be a bit crummy, at least you’re somewhat saving money? One or the other seemingly has to be sacrificed in this current state!


Hey, We Cannot Afford This!!!


Many MQ students do not have the option of moving out while undertaking their degrees. This is simply because, as one hopefully can gauge by now, it is too expensive! It’s completely understandable, and if I had family living in Sydney, I would be having a go of batting my eyelids sweetly at them until they let me in.


In January of 2023, the average weekly rent of a dwelling in Sydney was recorded at $560 per week [5]. If that doesn’t already make you want to tear out your hair and cry, the cost of living and housing crises only seem to be getting worse. 


Thus, I feel as though I have to model journalistic integrity to include all of the suburbs that my sources from my Google Form responses mentioned. Sources who live with their families and cannot afford to pay a hefty weekly rent. Here we are seeing the ugly truth to the cost of living crisis; not all students feel affected because we cannot afford to begin feeling affected. 



Special shout out to the students from these suburbs who responded to my survey:

  • Leppington

  • Greystanes

  • Castle Hill

  • Elanora Heights

  • Mona Vale

  • Gordon

  • Arncliffe

  • Mount Druitt

  • Epping

  • North Ryde

  • Ashfield 




[1] Scanlan, Rebecca. “‘Shocking’ supermarket photo highlights Aussie inflation struggle”, News.com.au, 11 Jun. 2023, https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/eat/shocking-supermarket-photo-highlights-aussie-inflation-struggle/news-story/b7a92937e05ba36ac14e09afe5aab32a 



[3] Ibid.


[4] Macquarie University. ‘Accommodation’. Macquarie University, 2023, https://students.mq.edu.au/uni-life/accommodation 


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