The United Kingdom is host to some of the world’s oldest universities and schools, dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries.
With such a strong legacy, studying in the UK has become the dream of many students. And the cherry on the cake is the UK welcomes you with open arms.
So if you are wondering what it costs for fees, accommodation, lifestyle, and financial assistance options for studying in the UK, the article breaks down the costs of every section of university life to ensure that you are well prepared.
Tuition fees in the United Kingdom vary based on your native country. English institutions can charge up to £9,250 a year for an undergraduate degree for home students.
Institutions in Wales can charge up to £9,000 for domestic students and £3,925 for students from the European Union and Northern Ireland.
However, if you are a Welsh student, you can apply for a fee grant to help pay part of your tuition costs. This award is not presently repayable or income-tested.
Northern Irish institutions will charge up to £4,275 for home students and up to £9,250 for students from other parts of the United Kingdom.
At the undergraduate level, Scotland does not charge home or EU students fees; nevertheless, any student from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland must pay up to £9,250 per year.
International students from outside the EU will have to pay much more to study in Scotland.
The annual maximum for tuition fee loans is £9,250. A standard undergraduate degree in the UK lasts three years. Therefore the average student debt in 2020 was £27,000.
This excludes repayment of any maintenance loan, which, when combined with tuition price debt, can amount between £35,000 and £40,000.
UK tuition fees for UK/EU students
Tuition costs at publicly financed UK institutions are divided into home student fees (including EU students) and overseas student costs.
Undergraduate degree programs in England can cost up to £9,250 (US$13,050) a year for home students. In Wales, the highest possible fee is £9,000 (~US$12,700), while in Northern Ireland, the cap is £4,160 (~US$5,900) for EU and Northern Irish students, and up to £9,250 for students from the rest of the UK.
An undergraduate degree in Scotland is practically free for students from Scotland and the EU. This is due to a subsidy from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) (SAAS).
For home postgraduate students, the SAAS additionally provides a tuition cost loan of up to £5,500 (US$7,770).
It should be noted that the Scottish definition of “home” student differs slightly in that it excludes students from the rest of the United Kingdom – i.e.
England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are all options.
Students from the rest of the United Kingdom who wish to pursue an undergraduate degree in Scotland will have to pay up to £9,250 each year.
There is also good news for Welsh students, who only need to pay £3,900 (US$5,500) a year in UK tuition fees to study anywhere in the UK, with the remainder paid by the Welsh government.
Postgraduate tuition prices vary greatly depending on the university and the field.
Home students may be eligible to get financing from one of the UK’s research bodies, the university, or through a career sponsorship plan.
UK tuition fees for international students
Undergraduate costs for overseas students in 2019/2020 ranged from roughly £10,000 (US$14,130) for lecture-based programs to £38,000 (US$53,700) or more for a full undergraduate medical degree. An undergraduate medical degree may cost up to £58,600 per year for international students.
There is no maximum limit on postgraduate degree fees for overseas students, though they are often more costly than most undergraduate programs, and the rate varies per university.
The government offers loans to international students to cover tuition and living expenses.
In 2019/20 foreign costs for classroom-based postgraduate programs ranged from roughly £11,000 (US$15,545) to £32,000 (US$45,200).
Annual prices for laboratory-based programs range from £12,000 (US$16,940) to £27,200 (US$38,400).
Tuition fees- Top Ranked University
Oxford University: a home cost of roughly 10,200 EUR per year; an international or abroad cost of between 29,300 and 41,300 EUR per year.
University College London (UCL) charges a home fee of roughly 10,200 EUR per year and an abroad cost of between 23,750 and 40,600 EUR per year.
Cambridge University charges a residential cost of roughly 10,200 EUR per year and an overseas fee of between 24,500 and 63,800 EUR per year.
Cost of living in the UK
The current UK student visa criteria state that you must have at least £1,015 (US$1,435) in your bank account for each month you intend to remain in the UK outside of London.
This equates to £12,180 (US$17,200) each year.
If you want to study in London, you’ll need to budget at least £1,265 (US$1,800) every month, which is the equivalent of £15,180 (US$21,500) each year.
When you arrive, you can reduce the cost of living in the UK by taking advantage of student discounts. For example, students in London can receive an 18+ Student Oyster photocard, which gives you 30% off travelcards and bus/tram season tickets, and students across the nation may apply for an NUS Extra Card for a nominal charge.
Another strategy to outwit the banker and make your money go farther is to study in a country where the cost of living is lower.
According to the Natwest Student Living Index 2017, the Welsh capital Cardiff is the most inexpensive city for students in the UK, with Aberdeen in Scotland and Durham in northeast England rounding out the top three.
In their first year, most students live in university halls of residence before transferring into rented private housing in subsequent years.
Many colleges provide self-catered and catered halls of residence, with meals included in the latter’s cost.
Rent is the most expensive part of living in London compared to the rest of the UK, with University College London (UCL) estimating accommodation costs of £8,073 (US$11,400) each academic year (nine months/39 weeks).
You may be able to locate more cheap housing in university halls or a flatshare.
According to the findings of Save the Student’s National Student Accommodation Survey 2017, students in the UK spend an average of £125 (US$175) per week on rent – with a considerable geographic variation: students in Northern Ireland paid just £91 (US$129) per week, which is precisely half the amount spent by those in London (£182/US$257).
Unless costs are included, you will most likely pay an additional £70 a month (US$100) on utility and internet costs.
Other Necessary Cost
Utility bills (water, gas, and electric) in rental housing are between £50 and £60 per month, with mobile phone expenses ranging between £10 and £60.
Broadband internet costs around £20 per month; however, this is often distributed among renters.
On average, books and academic equipment will cost £15 per week or £60 per month.
Outside of London and other major university cities, a single bus journey costs about £1.50, with a student travel card costing £45 per month.
Students at central London institutions should budget £23 a week for transport (including the London Underground, buses, trams, and trains), or £140 per month.
Students can also save one-third on regional train travel with a 16-25 Railcard.
A single adult ticket from London to Brighton (a popular day trip destination) costs £17.50 on the day of travel or £11.50 with a student railcard.
A litre of petrol costs £1.16 on average, while a litre of diesel costs £1.18.
The average annual living expense in 2016 was £8,990, which included self-catered lodging, food, course costs, transportation, socializing, and utility contracts, for a total of £26,970 during three years.
The average weekly food bill in the United Kingdom is £50, though this figure may be lower if you stay in private catered halls.
The cost of food varies depending on your diet and where you live in the country.
A lunch at a pub costs between £8 and £12, whereas a dinner at a restaurant costs between £10 and £25. A movie ticket costs on average £7.41, while a Big Mac costs £3.39.
A pint of beer costs around £3.67, while a 175ml glass of wine costs around £4. However, prices in London and the southern cities will be greater than in the northern cities.
Gym memberships are normally around £50 per month, however many gyms offer student discounts.
An average night out costs around £30, which includes transport, beverages, and club or event admission.
Ticket prices for concerts range from £5 to £45, depending on the venue and performances.
It is crucial to understand that you may get student pricing or a student discount in numerous venues, such as the cinema, theatre, restaurants, and various businesses.
So have your university student card with you at all times, or look into discount cards and websites for students that may offer some decent bargains.
Scholarships and student funding
Home (UK/EU) students can apply for loans, scholarships, and other types of aid to cover their UK tuition costs, with amounts varying based on location.
While student loans for international students often pay all tuition expenses, the supplementary loan to cover the UK’s cost sometimes falls short of the amount required.
In the 2017/18 academic year, the maximum living loan was UK£8,430 (US$11,900) for students studying outside of London and up to £11,002 (US$15,500) for students studying in London.
This is likely to fall short of your yearly living expenditures by a few thousand pounds in both circumstances.
For international students, there are several scholarships, bursaries, and grants available.
All of them are incredibly competitive, but UK universities are continually striving to increase their foreign student numbers, so taking the time to explore all of your alternatives is essential.
The UK government and other organizations support scholarships in the British Council database.
It is also worthwhile to examine the website of your preferred university to see whether they offer an applicable scholarship.
A complete list of postgraduate scholarships may be found here.
While studying in the UK is one of the most costly alternatives globally, the variety of student discounts on day-to-day expenditures ensures that students may live cheaply while making the most of their experience.
All students are eligible to apply for a National Union of Students (NUS) card, which serves as a confirmation of student identity and gives savings of up to 50% on technology, food shopping, dining out, going out, media subscriptions, clothing, travel, and university supplies.
Separate cards and programs, such as UNiDAYS and Student Beans, provide a greater choice of discounts.
Many banks provide student incentives such as free railcards, Amazon gift cards, and Apple devices.
Local establishments frequently give discounts to students in university towns to attract their patronage.
Undergrad domestic students at private UK universities (of which there are only three) can still apply for tuition fee loans, maintenance loans, and maintenance grants for most courses.
The tuition fee loan, however, may not cover the entire amount.
Scholarships to study in the United Kingdom are also available from the government, particular institutions, independent groups, and numerous charities.
The British Council and other organizations’ scholarships are listed on the Education UK website.
It is also worthwhile to investigate what scholarships and assistance programs are available from your government and other organizations.
Among the most well-known UK scholarships for overseas students are:
Chevening Scholarships —
Government-funded UK scholarships are available to excellent students with leadership potential worldwide to study at recognized UK universities at the postgraduate level.
Marshall Scholarships —
Scholarships for outstanding US students to study in the United Kingdom.
Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships –
Member governments in the United Kingdom provide scholarships to nationals of other Commonwealth nations.
UK scholarships are more generally accessible at the postgraduate level, with few accessible to undergraduate students.
However, always verify with your preferred university since assistance for excellent undergraduate students is frequently available.