Vegetables market

Cost of Living Support

With the increase in the cost of living, it is harder than ever to live on a student budget. DUSA and Deakin have supports available to assist students in need. There are also support services available in the community.

Finding it hard to afford basic living expenses? Had an unexpected expense you’re struggling to pay? There is support available.

This page provides details for Deakin students on how to access free food, options for reducing your utility bills and transport expenses, as well as information about No Interest Loans and financial hardship grants.

This information is provided by DUSA Financial Wellbeing. Visit the DUSA Financial Wellbeing webpage for more information about this service.

Free Food

On-Campus Free Food

DUSA Food Pantry  

Free fruit, vegetables, and other food items are available at the DUSA Food Pantry events in Trimester 1 and 2. Check the DUSA Events page for the next scheduled Food Pantry and make sure you register to attend.

DUSA Free Breakfast

Every Wednesday during Trimester 1 and 2 teaching weeks, DUSA serves free breakfast from 8:30am until 10:30am (unless food runs out earlier) at the Deakin Burwood and Geelong campuses.  

DUSA Student Survival Centre

DUSA’s Student Survival Centres are available for Deakin students who are facing financial hardship and have an immediate need for basic food items, personal hygiene products and other household essentials such as cleaning products. 

Other Free Food On-Campus

Deakin has many events where free food is on offer. From O-Week through to Self-Care Week, events on campus can be a great opportunity to have some free food and connect with other students. Follow DUSA and Deakin Life on Instagram or check the DUSA events page to stay on top of the on-campus events.

Off-Campus Free Food

External Food Assistance near Deakin campuses

There are a variety of services outside of the university that are available to assist you when you are stuck in a difficult situation.

Ask Izzy

Ask Izzy is a free and anonymous website where you can search over 360,000 services to find housing, meals, healthcare, counselling, legal advice, and a whole lot more. For food relief charities in your area, you can use their search feature by putting in your postcode.


Struggling to pay your gas, electricity and/or water bills? Utility providers are legally required to assist people experiencing financial hardship.

Ask your electricity, gas or water provider for information about grants and discounts available for people experiencing financial hardship. For students based in Victoria, there is a state government grant (Utility Relief Grant) that can be applied to your utility account(s) if you meet the eligibility requirements. Contact your service provider to discuss your options.

For further information and guidance on accessing assistance with your utility bills, see this information on the National Debt Helpline website.

Transport – Car and/or Public Transport

DUSA Transport Assistance Program 

The cost of public transport and parking can be a significant expense for students. In cases of genuine financial strain, students can apply for free or subsidised parking support and free public transport travel passes

No Interest Loans, Grants & Other Payments

Deakin Financial Assistance

Students experiencing financial hardship can apply for financial assistance from Deakin University. Deakin cannot provide financial assistance for tuition fees; however, they may be able to assist with other expenses that impact your study.

Community No Interest Loans

No Interest Loans (NILS) are available for people on low incomes to cover essential expenses such as such as appliances or furniture, car repairs, or medical and dental expenses. Loans are NOT for cash, bills or debts. You will need to submit an invoice for the essential goods or service you need and if your application is successful, your NILS provider will pay it directly to the supplier.

Centrelink Student Start-up Loan (Domestic students)

Full-time students who receive Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY payments, can apply to get the Student Start-Up Loan. The loan is added to your HECS/HELP debt. Keep in mind that while there is no interest, your HECS/HELP debt is indexed each year and your student debt could also reduce your future borrowing capacity. However, if you do need to borrow money this loan is more affordable than a loan through a private lender.

Centrelink Advance Payment (Domestic students)

If you receive a Centrelink income support payment or Family Tax Benefit (Part A) and need extra funds, you maybe eligible for a Centrelink Advance Payment. You will then repay this money over time through deductions from your future Centrelink payments.

Study Melbourne (International students)

Study Melbourne is a Victorian government initiative that offers a range of services and may have grants available for international students experiencing financial hardship. Contact them directly to enquire further about supports available.

Deakin International Student Support

The Deakin International Student Support team may have grocery vouchers available for students experiencing financial hardship. Contact the Deakin International Student Support team to enquire about available supports.


Feeling overwhelmed by your financial situation?

We’ve got your back! You have options and there are steps you can take yourself, but if you need more guidance or you get stuck, DUSA Financial Wellbeing are here to help.

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