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How much does it cost to study in the UK?....

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Considering all aspects of university life is essential when deciding what university to study at. The choice of course undeniably plays a huge role but other factors are influential in the success of any student for example, accommodation, fees and lifestyle as well as friends and financial assistance. This is even more important when deciding to study overseas.

UK higher education is sought out by international students the world over.  A whopping 693,695 students choose the UK as their country of choice for undergraduate and postgraduate education.  For many people the cost will make or break the option to study in the UK.  Living and studying in all areas of the UK will generally cost about the same except for London, where the costs of living and working are much higher than any other area of the UK.

If you’re interested in studying in the UK, whether it be England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, you'll want to know how much it costs to study and live in that particular area of the UK.  In this article we'll look into the costs of living and studying in the UK in detail, as well as some tips and tricks for saving money.

How Much Money Do I Need?

It’s generally a lot more cost-effective to study in the UK if you are a UK citizen. 

The maximum fee for a university degree for a UK student is £9,250 per year. This can often be funded with a student loan.  A four-year student loan would be approximately £37,000 and you'll need to pay that amount back when you are earning.

Scotland is the cheapest place to study in the UK especially if it’s your home country.  In this case there are no tuition fees.  You'll only need to pay for accommodation and other lifestyle costs and these are generally much cheaper in Scotland.

The amount of money you'll need will largely depend on the following three factors;

  •  If your an international or home student
  • Location
  • Type and duration of course

International Student Visa

If you want to study in the UK and are from another country, you'll need a "General student visa (Tier 4)." This costs £348 per person and can take up to 3 weeks to process.  You can apply for your visa up to 3 months before your course starts.  To apply for a student visa you'll also need a letter of acceptance from your university of choice.

Accommodation Costs

The average cost for student accommodation is £144 per week, which is around £576 per month.  Accommodation costs in Scotland are often cheaper and in comparison to London the costs are more expensive.

For overseas students looking to study in London, you'll need to have a minimum budget of £1,265 per month.  Your tuition fees are additional, therefore if your course is £2,500 per month, you'll need to have a budget of £3,765 per month when you include your fees.

The UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) will want to see you have enough money for 9 months of study in your account before granting a student visa.

5 Money-Saving Tips for Students  in the UK

As a student, you'll want to keep a close eye on your budget.  Here are 5 essential money-saving tips for students in the UK;  

  • Enjoy free events like visiting art galleries, parks, going for walks or visiting historic sites
  • Sign up for discounted student travel
  • Make sure to take advantage of your student discounts.  All you need to do is take your student card with you as you travel around the UK.
  • Research the most cost-effective areas to live that are close to your university.  Costs can vary widely from one town to the next.
  • Cook meals with fresh produce from home.  Eating out can be expensive, the best way to save on groceries is to make meals from fresh natural wholefoods.

Tuition Fees

The costs for international students are more expensive than UK/EU applicants.  The cost can vary greatly from one university to the next.  The average cost for undergraduate degrees in the UK for international students is between £10,000 and £38,000. Postgraduate degrees are normally more expensive.

Living Costs

Your living costs will vary depending on your lifestyle preferences.  Living costs include food, books, clothes, entertainment, travel and bills.  It will cost approximately £8000 - £12,000 per year to live in the UK after your tuition fees and accommodation costs.

Additional costs

Some course programs involve additional costs, for example, art materials, uniform, compulsory field courses, photography equipment or a laptop.  Make sure to speak with your university of choice to find out if there will be any additional costs involved in your course.  Usually, the admissions offices at your university will be more than happy to provide you with information in relation to any additional costs involved with your course.

Financial Support

UK/EU undergraduates can get access to a loan for the full amount of their tuition fees.  This will most likely change after Brexit but for now, universities are honouring the loan agreements.  There are also means-tested maintenance loans available to those who qualify.   

Options are more limited for international students looking for financial support.  There are a handful of loans and scholarships on offer.  The UK government offers Postgraduation scholarships for international students if you fit the criteria.   International students will be expected to pay for all of their living costs and top tier tuition fees.

The Bottom Line  

Living and studying in the UK is rewarding if you have budgeted effectively. There are many options for funding available for both UK and international students to finance their studies.  Cutting corners by making sure your accommodation is in a safe and less expensive area,  saving on grocery bills as well as taking advantage of student discounts will buffer some of the costs of studying in the UK.