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How International Students Can Fund Their Study in The UK
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How International Students Can Fund Their Study in The UK

Written by Sam | June 4, 2020

Coming to the UK is not an easy decision to make for some and deciding to come to university is a incredible decision. The UK education system has some amazing attributes and research that contributes globally.

How Much Does It Cost?

International undergraduate tuition fees vary considerably, starting at around £10,000 (~US$14,130) and going up to £38,000 (~US$53,700) or more for medical degrees.

The best way to find this information is to visit the universities website and see what they charge for international students because it will fluctuate for each UK university and each year depending on demand!

If you want to understand more about the visa you need to study in the UK, read this in-depth article. It explains what you need, where you can get it from, and how they operate.

Visas & Money

When coming to the UK and needing a visa, as part of your visa you will need to have a proof of funds to show that you can pay your tuition, afford accommodation and live.

Therefore when applying for these types of funds, you need to make sure that you meet the requirements.

How To Fund Your International Study In The UK

Exchange programmes

An affordable way and a way to get around the system to study in the UK as an international student might be through an exchange programme.

This would involve enrolling as a student at a university in your home country, and studying in the UK for a semester or year.

Check individual universities to see whether they have any partnerships with universities in the UK before you apply. If not then this might not be the perfect option for you.

This option means that you don’t need to pay UK tuition fees, but you will need to cover living costs for however long you will be on the exchange for.

International student loans

As an international student, you won’t be eligible for a loan from the UK government like home or EU students. However, there are other education loans out there that you might want to look in to.

For example, US students can apply for a Study Abroad Loan if you’re planning on studying abroad for a short period of time, such as for a semester or year. If you want to study at a university abroad full-time, you can apply for a Foreign Enrolled Loan instead.

Private companies

Private companies sometimes offer financial support for you to study in the UK under the condition that you work for them for a certain amount of time after graduation.

These are also sometimes called sponsors, they will pay for your tuition and potentially living or a donation towards it with you making up the rest. In exchange for this, they will want you to undertake work on their behalf.

One I have seen, a marketing undergraduate was doing their dissertation on the company and they were going to work in the company afterwards to help build their marketing strategy and brand. The company was a startup and this was pre corona-virus.

Official financial sponsors are defined in the Tier 4 policy guidance, and the guidance sets out the requirements of their letter of financial sponsorship. If your official financial sponsor is your university, you do not need a letter if the details of your financial sponsorship are on your CAS.   

The list of acceptable official financial sponsors includes an ‘international company’. The Home Office has not defined this but means a company with a trading presence (an office) in more than one country.

If your official financial sponsor is not covering all of your course fees and maintenance, you must show that you have the rest of the money required.  You can use any combination of the forms of evidence listed above.


Ok, so you probably wouldn’t be searching for scholarships if you had the money yourself, but 65% of international students fund their degrees with the help of family members.

If you think there’s a chance your parents or wider family might be able to give you some financial help, it might be worth discussing.

Accepting some small contributions can be a way of making up a big pot and many international students might prefer to do this than ask for a large amount off their family.

If you wish to use a personal bank account in your parent’s or guardian’s name (or names), you must also include evidence of their relationship to you. (If you are a ‘low-risk’ applicant you should obtain this evidence, but you do not need to include it with your application.) This evidence of your relationship with your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) can be:

  • your birth certificate, or a copy, showing the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application
  • if you are adopted, the certificate of adoption, or a copy, showing your name and the name of your parent(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application
  • if you have a legal guardian, a court document, or copy, which shows the name of your guardian(s) whose bank account you are using for your immigration application


Scholarships are one of the main sources of funding for students seeking to study abroad.

There’s a huge amount out there, but with varying eligibility criteria, they can be a total nightmare to navigate.

A lot of the scholarships are for postgraduate students, however, there are some that are purely for undergraduates. The best way to see if there is a scholarship is for you or even if there is a scholarship in your sector, visit the UKCISA website.

Own Country

Not many students know this but your home country could be one of the biggest sources of funding, and this will be either from local government or from companies based in your home country. The best way to look for this is contact your local government office and see what they recommend – most have websites so you can easily do this online.

Also, try to think of two or three (or as many as you can) large companies that are located in your home country and send letters and enquiries to them asking about studying assistance. One thing to consider, however, is that funding from your home country may have a requirement that you come back home once you have finished your studies to work.

If your official financial sponsor is a government and they have sent you a sponsor letter by email, a print of this letter should be acceptable as evidence of the sponsorship. The entry clearance officer can still ask for an original letter, so it is a good idea to ask your government sponsor for a paper copy too.   

A good website is: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information–Advice/Visas-and-Immigration/Tier-4-eligibility-and-requirements

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