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How much does it cost to study and live in the UK for international students?

Learn about the cost of study, living expenses and most affordable universities in the UK.

Studying abroad can be an expensive affair for students going to study in the UK. However, an efficient budget plan can help you manage your living expenses more effectively. Here’s our comprehensive guide on the cost of study, tuition fees, living expenses and the most affordable universities in UK, to help you plan well for your new life in the United Kingdom!

How much does it cost to study in the UK?

Your expenditure on tuition fee depends on the type of qualification and the university or school you opt for. There are many high-ranking universities and colleges in the UK with their own fee structures.

Further, the fee also depends on where in the UK you choose to study (there are different rules for the various countries of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales), and your study level.

Most commonly, courses in humanities, education and arts are a little cheaper, while subjects such as medicine and engineering are likely to be more expensive. If you wish to study at a postgraduate level, the tuition fees are typically higher, and the costs vary depending on the program. As with most other countries, MBA programs are often the most expensive.

  Study Program Average Fees
1. Undergraduate Bachelor’s degree £10,000 to £20,000 per year
2. Postgraduate Master’s Degree £10,000 to £20,000 per year
3. Doctoral Degree £15,000 to £24,000 per year

*Please note that: all figures are indicative and PhD cost might differ as fully funded options are also available in the UK.


If you want to bring down your educational expenses, it is best to apply to various UK scholarships available for international students.

What is the cheapest university in the UK for international students?

If you’re asking this question, then you should know that the answer depends on many factors, such as your preferred field of study, type of program or qualification, and the university. However, some universities offer lower tuition fees than others.

These are the top 5 most affordable UK universities for international students:

University Average Annual Fees
Coventry University £12,924 - 16,887
University of Sunderland £12,000
Ulster University £14,480
University of Buckingham £17,800
Leeds Beckett University £12,000 to £14,000


Accommodation costs in the UK

Most universities in the UK offer on-campus residence facilities to international students. These can be self-catered or full board. Certain campuses also provide self-catered shared houses or flats to their students.

Living as a resident on-campus is a very affordable option. However, you need to apply for it separately, and well ahead in time to secure a slot for yourself. If you are unable to find such accommodation, you might have to look for a room on rent, homestay or find localhost. Your university’s accommodation office may help you out in this case too as they often have a list of accommodation options available in the nearby area.

When you’re looking for a place, you should have a checklist that includes costs, facilities, deposits, inventory, rent booking, bill payment, tenancy agreement, council tax, and house rules.

Your IDP Education counsellor can help choose the best accommodation option that fits your budget.

Accommodation type Cost per week
Hostels £15 - £70
On Campus £83 - £157
Homestay £175 - £245
Rental £550 - £650


Cost of UK Student Visa

In order to study in the UK, the first step is to secure a valid student visa. Your UK Student Visa will cost approximately £348. Find information on visa application process and related cost here.

What’s the cost of living in the UK?

You need to keep a little money aside for your grocery shopping, social activities, and emergencies. You should also consider these common expenses when creating your budget:

Expenses Approximate cost (monthly)
Bills (electric/ gas/ water) £40 - £50
Food and housekeeping £160 - £200
TV licence (mandatory with TV or watching BBC online) £12.56 (or £150.50 per year)
Mobile phone £15 - £50
Clothes and shoes £25
Leisure & sports (calculated on membership for the students’ sports centre) £10 - £20
Books & stationery £21
Socialising £120
Travel & transport (based on the monthly cost of a student bus pass) £32
Childcare (if needed) £656

* Source: Coventry University. Please note that all figures are indicative.


Check out the complete guides of these top UK universities: London, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff.

Remember! When living in a foreign country as a student, it is better to keep a track of your expenditures so that you don’t overspend.

Here are some tips to help you save your money when living abroad!

What’s the cost of the health insurance?

Several UK universities have initiated comprehensive health insurance plans for international students, but that is applicable as long your program is ongoing and ceases upon completion.

Your IDP counsellor can help you get the right health insurance.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), you are required to pay £300 yearly for the duration the visa will be granted. However, the minimum amount varies based on leaves:

Leaves period The amount payable for the year
If your leaves include a part of a year that is 6 months or less £150
If your leaves include a part of a year that is more than 6 months £300


Can I work in the UK while studying?

Yes. International students in the UK are allowed to work 20 hours per week during academic sessions and full-time during vacations. However, if you have a job while you are studying in the UK, then you’ll also have to pay the tax and national insurance.

Kick start your journey to the UK! Book your free counselling session now with IDP Education Counsellor to turn your study ambition into action!

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Why study in the UK?

Choosing to study abroad at a UK university has many financial, cultural and social advantages as well. A shorter, more intensive course structure means you’ll be able to fast-track your career and minimise your living costs while you study.



Governments and universities around the world value high performing students and have many scholarship programs designed to attract the world’s best and brightest to undertake study in their country.

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