Over the years the cost of studying and living in the UK has been a matter of controversy. Today, students can expect to spend upwards of £10,000. However, taking into consideration the different type of lifestyle that you live, the costs can be higher. This calls for proper planning if you are coming to the UK to study from abroad.
Accommodation varies from one place to the other, with costs determined by things like the location and the type of accommodation you are looking for. According to the UK government estimates, the average cost of accommodation should be £104 a week. However, this will also vary depending on how social you are.
How are these estimates obtained?
Each year, the National Union of Students comes up with estimates on the cost of a full-time undergraduate course in the UK. These estimates are made in lieu of a 39-week study period. Some of the metrics that are considered include a survey of the cost of accommodation, student income and expenditure.
These are rough estimates, considering that each student is unique in their habits and lifestyle. Other factors that come to play include benefits, loans, and grants that the student might have access to. Around 80% of the spending will go to tuition fees, 10% on books, equipment and other amenities that you will need during the course of your studies, while the other 10% can be apportioned to travel.
The cost of tuition will also depend on the course you are pursuing, so it is wise to check with your learning institution to make proper financial arrangements. While the average undergraduate course will cost around £9,250 a year, this can be as high as £38,000 for courses in fields like engineering and medicine.
To be granted a UK student visa, you should have at least £1,015 in your account each month for you to live and stud in the UK, but outside of London. This comes to around £12,180 a year. In case you are planning to study in London, it will cost you more. You must have at least £1,265 a month in your account, or £15,180 a year.
You, therefore, need to look into ways of making your stay in the UK cheaper by taking advantage of student discounts. Your choice of accommodation plays a significant role in how much it will cost you to study in the UK. Cardiff, the Welsh capital, is one of the most affordable cities to live when studying in the UK. Other than that, you might also want to look at residence options in Durham (North-East England) and Aberdeen in Scotland.
A lot of students stay in university halls of residence before they move to private homes. Learning institutions offer catered, and self-catered residence and the food is always included in the cost of rent.
On average, students in the UK spend around £125 on accommodation. The range varies from one place to the other. Take Northern Ireland, for example, where rent is only £91 a week. In London, the cost can be as high as £181. You also have to factor in things like utility bills, which unless included in your rental agreement, can cost around £70 a month.
Here is a breakdown of some of the other things that you might have to spend on when you study in the UK, based on a survey of student spending habits:
- £15 a month on your phone
- £30 a week on food from a food shop
- Restaurant meals cost around £12 a meal
- £30 a month on books and course material
- £32 a month on gym membership – student discounts are applicable
Tips on how to save money when studying in the UK
Considering the high cost of living, it is important for students to consider ways of cutting down on costs, while still making the most of your time in the UK. Here are some useful tips that can assist you.
- Each year London is home to free seminars, lectures, and events. You can visit these and have a good time.
- A lot of destinations in the UK offer discounted rates for students. You can get up to 30% off and at times even more, so always look out for such. This is applicable to books, movie tickets, and even restaurants.
- Research well on accommodation. The cost often depends on the location and the neighborhood.
It is important to note that while studying in the UK might be expensive, courses here are shorter than studying in other countries like the US. In the UK, most undergraduate courses take 3 years compared to 4 in the US. Postgraduate courses take a year in the UK, against two in the US. Therefore, when working on your estimates, it might be cheaper to study in the UK.
Let’s talk Brexit
There was concern that the cost of tuition would increase for students from the EU since Brexit. However, the UK government does not have any plans to do this, at least not at the moment. As a matter of fact, most of the learning institutions in the UK have made a pledge to maintain the current fee structure for tuition through the duration of the course.