Finance For International Students In The UK

If you are planning to study in the United Kingdom and want to attend a publicly funded university or college, your fee status (whether you pay full-cost fees or a subsidised fee rate) will be determined by the UK institution you plan to attend.

Before you decide which university or college to attend, you need to be absolutely certain that you can pay the full cost of:

  • your tuition fees (the amount is set by universities and colleges, so contact them for more information - visit the websites of institutions that you are considering because many list their fees)
  • the everyday living expenses for you and your family for the whole time that you are in the UK, including accommodation, food, heat, light, clothes and travel
  • books and equipment for your course
  • travel to and from your country.

You must include everything when you work out how much it will cost. You can get information to help you work this out accurately from the international offices at universities and colleges, UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) and the British Council.

1. Tuition fees

As already mentioned, these are set by the individual universities and colleges, but you can read some general information on tuition fees for overseas students on the UK CISA website to give you an idea of the amount of money you will be expected to pay. They also have information on sources of funding for your studies.

Tuition fee financial help for EU students studying in England, Northern Ireland or Wales

If you a British student but you live outside the UK or you are an EU citizen, you may be eligible for financial help to cover the cost of tuition fees for studying in England, Northern Ireland or Wales. The Directgov website has further information.

You may be eligible to apply for financial help to cover the cost of your tuition fees if:

  • you are an EU national or a family member of an EU national. The 27 EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
  • you have been living within the EEA or Switzerland for the three years immediately before the start of your course
  • your main reason for being in the EEA or Switzerland is not to receive full-time education.

In some circumstances, students from EEA countries or Switzerland may also be able to apply for help with living costs. If you or your parent, guardian or partner were temporarily employed outside the EEA and Switzerland for all or part of the three-year period, you may still qualify for finance.

Tuition fee financial help for EU students studying in Scotland

If you are an EU citizen wanting to study in Scotland, visit the SAAS website for more information.

Tuition fee financial help for non-EU students

You will need to contact the universities and colleges that you are considering for precise information on course fees and financial help available for you.

Most universities and colleges will also display this information on their websites. UKCISA and the British Council will also be able to assist you in your enquiry.

2. Living costs

The cost of living in the UK varies depending on where you study. It will be expensive in cities such as London, Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham and Bath.

Each university and college in the UK should have a section for international students, which should contain a page on the cost of living in the area for an academic year.

If not, you should contact the international office of the institution, and they will help with estimating what to budget for your living costs.

UNIAID has a useful finance calculator for international students, which can help you manage your money while studying in the UK.

3. Scholarships

You should contact your local British Council office about scholarships and other sources of funding for students from your country who want to study in the UK.

You can search for scholarships available in the UK on the EducationUK website.

British Council offices in the UK do not have information or scholarship application forms.

Be aware that the scholarships administered by The British Council are allocated more than one academic year in advance of the start of the course, so you should start researching them at least 18 months in advance.

4. Part-time work

To help fund your tuition fees and living expenses, you can look for a part-time job that you can fit around your studies.

International students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week during term time and all through the holidays. If you are from a EU country, there will be even more flexibility.

Full details about the conditions for working are on the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website.

Working in the UK also provides another opportunity to improve your English language skills and gain some useful experience.

Further information

For more tips and advice on coming to the UK to study, please see: