UK living and study costs

International students: find out the costs of UK study: tuition fees, accommodation prices and other living costs.

Sterling pound coins Before moving to the UK and starting your studies, you need to make sure you are secure in terms of funds. There will be many outgoings that you will need to consider: university fees, living expenses and also spending money for the student bar!

We have given you some guidelines below, so you can begin to look into the kind of money you need to have saved up in order to afford studying in the UK.

Tuition fees for EU students

One of the most confusing factors of looking into UK university costs is finding out about tuition fees. These differ depending on where you are from, the university in question and the type of course you are applying for.

Although the rates do vary, there are guidelines you can follow to find out how much you should expect to pay. For instance all students coming from EU countries pay the same fees as ‘home’ students.

Universities and colleges in England can now charge students up to £9,000 a year for their courses, although this varies depending on the college or university. Maximum fees in Wales and Northern Ireland are just short of £4,000 and in Scotland EU students (not including England, Northern Ireland or Wales) are exempt from fees.

Tuition fees for international students

For ‘overseas’ students, classed as those not from EU countries, tuition fees vary even more. Overseas students have to pay for the full cost of their course, and these fees can range from £10,000 to £20,000 per year according to the Complete University Guide.

With such wide fluctuations in fees, it is very important to find out how much your preferred universities are charging as early in your application process as possible.

Living costs

Although things like tuition fees are very important, there are other costs you should consider at this point, and these are living costs. These can differ depending on the region you plan to live in - for example, a recent NUS (National Union of Students) Student Income and Expenditure Survey showed that the average UK living costs for a student is approximately £12,500, but for those in London, the UK’s capital, you can expect to pay out even more, as the average living cost there is £13,885! This is mainly down to the cost of housing.

You must also be aware that international students cannot apply for welfare allowances of any sort during their stay, and must ensure that they can cover their day-to-day expenses. If you are staying in the UK for over six months however, you do get free access to the NHS (National Health Service), which offers free health and dental care.

Scholarships and support

Online you can access a free to use International Student Calculator, which is an interactive guide to living costs that allows you to build your own budget and be well prepared for managing your money while you study.

Many students often consider part-time work to help them keep on top of money. International students are allowed to work part time in the UK for up to 20 hours per week, and this can help give you money to spend in your free time - and also give you less time to spend it in.

But don't panic if you think you could never afford to study in the UK, there is a wide support network of scholarships, bursaries, loans and grants that can offer support to help you get the funds you need including government-funded awards, plus some private companies and many universities offer their own scholarships that international students can be eligible for.

Here’s some useful links for further information…

UK Council for International Student Affairs
Chevening scholarships and fellowships
Marshall scholarships
Commonwealth scholarships

Refreshed September 2016