For Deakin University, good suburbs would be Camberwell, Burwood, Auburn or if you look on any 4-5 stations between this train line on this site - http://www.connexmelbourne.com.au/trip_timetable/timetable/full/alameinUMF.asp
For LaTrobe University. Bundoora campus is close to Preston, Croxton, Thornbury and Northcote suburbs. There is a city campus as well, in case all your subjects are at the city campus please look at the RMIT University option as all trains and most trams lead to the city.
For students at cities other than Melbourne, I apologise. I haven't lived in any other city for long, but here is a handy help. Look for the public transport website of each city (google for 'public transport
For Sydney: http://www.131500.info/realtime/default.asp
For Brisbane: http://www.translink.com.au/qt/TransLin.nsf/index/tr_main
For Perth: http://www.transperth.wa.gov.au/
For the first few days that you are here staying at a dormitory and sharing your beds with a few travellers is a norm. Look for 'Backpacker accomodation' on google for the city you are going to.