Exchange and study abroad students must enter Australia with a sub-class 575 student visa and not a tourist visa. Before they can apply for a visa students will need a letter of offer from the host university and a Certificate of Enrollment (CoE). U.S. citizens can apply for visas online. The current charge for a student visa is A$550. Student visas automatically grant students permission to do paid work while studying (up to 20 hours per week while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks). More information can be found here: http://www.immi.gov.au/students/.
Students participating in this program are expected to make their own flight arrangements. You must wait until you have been officially accepted by the host institution before purchasing airline tickets. Student Universe and STA Travel are two travel agencies that can often help students find flexible, discounted tickets.