Finance 2024: Cost of Living in the UK as an International Student

— Juliet Edjere

The United Kingdom, with its rich academic heritage and world-renowned universities, remains a magnet for international students seeking a transformative educational experience.

Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels

However, the decision to study in the UK is often accompanied by concerns about the financial implications. For prospective international students, understanding the cost of studying and living in the UK is crucial for making informed decisions and planning accordingly.

Tuition Fees: The Price of Knowledge

Tuition fees are the most significant cost for international students in the UK. These fees vary depending on the university, the course of study, and the student's nationality. In general, international students can expect to pay higher tuition fees than domestic students.

Undergraduate Tuition Fees:

  • Lecture-based courses: £10,000-£26,000 per year
  • Medical degrees: Up to £67,892 per year

Postgraduate Tuition Fees:

  • Classroom-based programmes: £6,500-£51,360 per year
  • Laboratory-based programmes: £7,500-£54,500 per year

Living Costs: The Everyday Expenses

Tuition fees are just one part of the financial equation when studying abroad.

Beyond tuition fees, international students must also consider the cost of living in the UK. These expenses typically encompass accommodation, food, transportation, utilities, and other miscellaneous costs.

Living expenses can vary significantly depending on the location, lifestyle choices, and individual spending habits. The cost of living in the UK varies depending on location, with London being the most expensive city.


  • London: £800-£1,400 per month
  • Rest of the UK: £500-£1,300 per month

Accommodation is a significant expense for international students in the UK. Rent prices vary depending on location, type of accommodation, and the number of occupants. In London, a single room in a shared flat can cost between £600 to £800 per month, while a studio apartment can range from £1,200 to £1,500 per month. In other parts of the UK, these costs are generally lower.


  • £150-£200 per month

Food expenses are another essential consideration for international students. Grocery shopping in the UK is relatively affordable, with a basic weekly meal plan costing around £50 to £60. Dining out can be more expensive, with a meal at an average restaurant costing around £20 to £30.


  • £50-£100 per month

Transportation costs will vary depending on your location and travel habits. London Underground (Tube) providing reliable options for getting around.

Apart from accommodation, food, and transportation, there are other miscellaneous expenses to consider, such as utilities, personal care items, and entertainment. These costs can vary individually, but it's advisable to factor them into your budget.

Other Expenses:

  • Utilities: £50-£100 per month
  • Entertainment: £50-£100 per month
  • Personal expenses: £50-£100 per month

On average, international students can expect to spend between £1,200 to £2,000 per month on living expenses in London, while in other parts of the UK, this figure ranges from £900 to £1,300 per month.

Total Estimated Cost:

Living expenses play a crucial role in determining your overall budget. On average, international students can expect to spend around £12,200 per year on living costs.

Considering both tuition fees and living expenses, the total estimated cost of studying in the UK for an international student can range from:

  • £22,200 per year (outside London)
  • £27,600 per year (in London)

London vs. Outside London: Understanding the Cost Differential

London, as the UK's capital city, is a vibrant and dynamic hub, offering a wealth of cultural and professional opportunities. However, this comes at a cost, as living expenses in London are generally higher than in other parts of the UK.

Accommodation, in particular, is significantly more expensive in London, with average monthly rent being around 50% higher than in other regions.

Tips for Reducing Costs:

While the cost of studying and living in the UK can be substantial, there are strategies international students can employ to reduce their financial burden.

  • Consider universities outside London: Tuition fees and living costs tend to be lower in cities outside of London.
  • Explore scholarship opportunities: Numerous scholarships are available to international students, both from universities and external organizations.
  • Seek part-time employment: International students are allowed to work part-time alongside their studies, providing an additional income stream.
  • Adopt a frugal lifestyle: Making informed decisions about accommodation, food, and transportation can significantly reduce expenses.
  • Public transportation in the UK is efficient and extensive, with buses, trains, and the Student discounts are often available, making public transport a cost-effective choice.

Trymaze: Your Partner in Settlement Success

Trymaze Ltd. is a leading provider of settlement services, dedicated to helping students from around the world relocate to the UK. We offer a comprehensive range of services, including guidance, visa assistance, and accommodation support, to ensure a smooth and seamless transition to life in the UK.


Studying in the UK as an international student can be an enriching and rewarding experience, opening doors to personal and professional growth.

While the financial implications are a significant factor, careful planning, informed decision-making, and a willingness to adapt can help students navigate the financial landscape and make the most of their UK study experience.

Maze provides an end-to-end platform that disrupts the traditional relocation model.

We connect people relocating with service providers, reduce cost and enable the personalization of customer journeys to the UK.

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, or Contact us with your relocation enquiries.

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