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The Cost of Living in The UK As An International Student
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The Cost of Living in The UK As An International Student

Written by Sam | May 22, 2020

For international students coming to the UK, undergraduate tuition fees are around £8,000 – £30,000 per year for full-time courses. The higher range is for medical degrees at the best universities. However, on average, international undergraduate fees are around £12,000 per year.

Please note that when we say international student, we generally mean those outside the EU, those that are within the EU might be eligible for a student loan.

For postgraduate degrees at university in the UK, the average tuition fees for international students for full-time programs range from £10,000 – £13,000 per year. For laboratory and research-based programs, average annual fees stand at £14,000. For medical degrees, the average figure is £21,000.

Why Are Tuition Fees So High For International Students?

The government subsidises UK students to go to university and therefore they are able to access the student finance route, as an international student, they can’t be subsidised by the UK government. This is why international students pay the higher fees. This is also why they check your funds, to make sure that you can pay.

As an EU Student, you still have to pay the same as an international student, however, you might be able to access student finance or student loan. Why? Because the country subsidises your learning and pays it to the UK for you to access a student loan.

If you come from Italy, Italy will pay the subsidised amount to the UK and you can apply for a student loan through Student Finance England. The university still charges that government the full fee, however, they subsidise it for you, similar to what the UK does with its residents.

Cost of Living In The UK

On average you will need around £1000 per month to live in the UK which includes all expenses. This is if you live outside of London if you live inside London the average rent is £182 a week and outside of London it is £126 per week.

You can also expect the cost of living to be higher in London, we usually say around £1,100 to £1,300 per month.

As far as living costs are concerned, these costs will vary greatly depending on your lifestyle, spending habits, and budget. These costs are given by the month. The biggest factors of how much you spend are rent, bills, and food. These are the 3 key areas for us and the ones that really matter. Find out how to budget as a student.

The average amount spent on bills per week is £32 per month, however, if you live in a household where bills are included in your rent, then you will technically pay £0 for your bills.

Cost of Living Broken Down For International Students

ParticularsMonthly Costs
Rent£504 Outside of London
£728 inside London
Gas and electricity£60
Mobile phone£30
Stationery and text books£40
Total£1,163 per month in London
£939 Outside of London

Please remember these are just your essential items, these don’t include any iteams like eating out, clothes, movies or anything like that. We recommend that you allow up £50 per month for these type of activities and if you don’t spend it one month, you can carry it over to the next month.

You should also note that even though these are averages, as a rule, living in the south is generally more expensive than living in the north and just because it says out of London, places in South of the UK can still be fairly expensive.

International Visas

UK Visa and Immigration requires you to have a budget of £1,020 per month to study in London. This figure is in addition to the tuition fees that you already need. This is the minimum amount you need to show to get a visa to study in London. For other places in the UK, the amount will be lesser. If you study at Universities outside London, you will require a minimum amount of £820 per month as requested by UK Visa and Immigration

Most international students need to get the Tier 4 General visa as it stands if they want to study for the 3 years, UK Visa. The visa application itself for international students isn’t too difficult and is fairly straight forward, it is more the documents and supporting evidence that you need to show that can slow you down.

Some of the documents you need to show are:

  • Funds
  • Passport or Driving License
  • Acceptance Letter and Number
  • TB Test

Student Accommodation Options

Finally as we say, the biggest factor that determines the size of your budget is the accommodation that you live in and where you live in.

Living in student accommodation – which simply means living by yourself within a block, similar exactly the same as condos. You can get flats/apartments where you share a kitchen and have a separate bathroom. These are generally more expensive but have a lot more facilities in them for example they have; Gyms, Study Rooms, Free Bikes, Games rooms, Cinema Rooms, Good Security and Staff around.

Living in a student house or private rented – This refers to renting a house off a private landlord directly or through a letting agent. This is much cheaper than living in student accommodation, however, you won’t have access to a gym and places like that within your block. What it does offer is a lot more option, you can choose a location, you can choose your letting agents and they can have some truly fantastic houses if you get the right ones!

Some of our articles that might help you are:

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