The cost of studying abroad in the UK

Published On: February 22, 2024|Comments Off on The cost of studying abroad in the UK|

How much does it cost to study in the UK?

The pursuit of international education is an aspiration for numerous students aiming to broaden their global perspective, engage with diverse cultures, and access a world-class education. The United Kingdom, renowned for its esteemed universities, history, and cultural richness, stands out as a preferred destination for international scholars. However, embarking on this educational journey comes with its own set of challenges, and one of the most significant considerations is the cost. In this blog, we will explore the various aspects that contribute to the cost of studying abroad in the UK.

Tuition fees

Considering the educational expenses in the UK, tuition fees emerge as a principal financial consideration. The financial commitment associated with tuition is contingent upon factors such as the academic level (undergraduate or postgraduate), the selected university, and the specific programme of study. For precise and up-to-date information regarding tuition fees for individual courses, it is advisable to consult the respective university’s official website.

Typically, international students can anticipate higher tuition fees compared to their domestic counterparts. For international undergraduate students, tuition fees range from £11,400 to £38,000, with an average estimated cost of around £22,200 per annum. Likewise, international postgraduate tuition fees exhibit variation, spanning from £9,000 to £30,000 and averaging around £17,109 per year.

Notably, several postgraduate degree programmes in the UK offer the advantage of completion within a single year of full-time study. This not only carries financial benefits but also holds implications for one’s career trajectory. A one-year master’s programme generally has fewer and lower associated costs, providing the option for expedited entry or re-entry into the workforce when compared to the more traditional two-year master’s programmes.


 Living Expenses

Beyond tuition fees, students must also consider the living expenses associated with studying in the UK. The United Kingdom exhibits diverse living costs, influenced by factors such as the city of residence and chosen lifestyle. Particularly, London, recognised as one of the most expensive cities globally, can significantly amplify overall living expenditures.

For international students arriving in the UK unaccompanied, a monthly expenditure of approximately £1300–£1400 in London or £900–£1300 elsewhere in the UK is to be anticipated. This amount covers various essentials such as accommodation, bills, groceries, and a spectrum of other living costs throughout the course of your studies.



The expense associated with accommodation constitutes a significant portion of the overall living costs for students. There is a choice between on-campus and off-campus housing, each with its own distinct pricing structure. Many UK universities extend on-campus residence facilities, commonly referred to as halls of residence, to international students. These accommodations may be either self-catered or full-board, and certain campuses also offer self-catered shared houses or flats. Opting for on-campus residency is often a cost-effective option; however, securing a slot necessitates a separate application submitted well in advance.

The cost of university-owned accommodation typically falls within the range of £600 to £900 per month. In instances where on-campus housing is unavailable, students may need to explore alternatives such as renting a room, considering homestay options, or seeking local hostels. University accommodation offices frequently assist in this regard by providing a list of available options in the nearby vicinity.

Private rentals, an alternative to university-owned accommodation, can vary in cost depending on factors such as location and facilities. For those opting to rent an apartment, additional expenses may include utility bills for electricity, internet, and water usage, along with the consideration of tenant’s insurance in certain housing areas. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment is generally between £550 and £650. Prospective students are advised to carefully evaluate their accommodation preferences and budget accordingly to ensure a comfortable and financially sustainable living arrangement during their studies in the UK.


Visa costs

Acquiring your UK student visa, essential for residing and pursuing your studies throughout the course duration, incurs a one-time fee of £490. Additionally, there are diverse visa options available to international students for post-graduation stays and work in the UK. A notably popular choice is the graduate visa, which provides a two-year period for individuals who have successfully completed a course in the UK. Application for this visa is a process to be undertaken while residing in the UK, with an associated fee of £822. Additionally, for each year spent in the UK, a payment of £624 is required for the immigration health surcharge. Exploring these visa options ensures a comprehensive understanding of the associated costs and benefits for international students planning their academic journey in the UK.



Health coverage is a mandatory consideration for international students studying in the UK. The National Health Service (NHS) is the provider of healthcare services, and students must fulfill this requirement either by paying the immigration health surcharge (IHS) during the visa application or by opting for private health insurance. The current annual rate for the IHS is £470, ensuring students’ access to the full spectrum of healthcare services offered by the UK’s National Health Service.


Public Transport

In London, the monthly cost of public transport is £103, while in the rest of the UK, it amounts to £54. Full-time students from various regions in the UK can benefit from a 30 percent discount on regular tube and bus fares by using a Student Oyster Card in conjunction with a National Railcard. For those students opting for monthly student Oyster cards specifically for Zones 1-2 in London, the cost is set at £103.


Travel and miscellaneous expenses

Students need to allocate funds for travel expenses, covering journeys back home and exploration within the UK and Europe. Furthermore, it is essential to factor in miscellaneous costs such as books, study materials, and social activities to ensure a comprehensive and enriching student experience.


Scholarships and financial aid

While the costs may seem daunting, there are various scholarships, grants, and financial aid options available to international students. Universities, government programmes, and private organisations offer financial assistance based on academic merit, financial need, or specific criteria related to the student’s background or field of study. It’s crucial for prospective students to thoroughly research and apply for relevant scholarships to alleviate the financial burden.


Part time working

All international students enrolled in a tier-4 visa are allowed to work part-time in the UK. By taking up a job, you can gain work experience as well as manage your funds efficiently. Infact, working part-time also allows international students to manage their study and income side by side. In the UK, you are allowed to work 20 hours per week with weekends off for a full-time degree. You can work in fields like marketing, sales, education, customer care, administration etc. There is a fixed wage per hour that an employer must legally pay their employees known as the National Minimum Wage which is currently as follows: 

  • £10.42 per hour for workers age 23 and over
  • £10.18 per hour for workers age 21 -22
  • £7.49 per hour for age group 18-20


UK Intakes

International students can apply to study in the UK in two major intakes; January and September. In case you miss these intakes, there are few universities that offer May intakes as well. You need to check for each intake in Universities’ website to get the accurate and clear information. Most of the international students apply for September intake, also known as fall intake, as there are a broad range of options in terms of desired universities and courses. The application window for this intake begins in December or late November and ends in July. However, deadlines may vary depending on the courses as well. 

January intake, also known as winter intake, is a secondary option for international students. The application for this intake usually opens in September and closes in November. The applicants are fewer in this intake than the fall, that’s why there is a higher chance of getting selected in some courses. 

While the May/Spring intake is not that popular among international students, there are few universities like University of Kent, Brunel University, Salford University, Keele University and others which offer this intake. The application usually opens in October and closes in December.

In conclusion, venturing into the enriching journey of studying abroad in the UK presents an opportunity for personal and academic growth, accompanied by a manageable financial commitment. With thoughtful planning, diligent financial management, and a proactive approach to available opportunities, students can transform their aspirations into a tangible reality. Understanding and preparing for associated costs allow students to navigate the financial landscape with ease and confidence, ensuring a rewarding and successful educational experience in the UK. Remember, investing in education is investing in a bright future, and with the right financial strategies, the possibilities are limitless.


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