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Studying in the UK Costs: The cost of living in the UK as a student

If you’re planning to study in the UK, budgeting for your living costs can be daunting. On top of tuition fees for your chosen college or university, you also have to consider a range of additional expenses, such as rent, groceries, bills and leisure activities.

At G8Way, we appreciate that you may be struggling to get your head around the cost of study in the UK. To help you budget accordingly and make the most of your time in higher education, we’ve put together a simple guide to give you a better idea about average living expenses.

How much does it cost to study in the UK?

The cost of living as a student can vary considerably depending on factors such as what university or college you attend, the course you are studying, the level of study (undergraduate or postgraduate) and where you are based in the UK. Of course, your personal circumstances will also affect your outlay, as well as any loans, benefits and grants you may be entitled to.

First of all, you’ll need to factor in tuition fees when planning your budget. Undergraduate tuition fees differ for each university or college and can range from £8,000 up to £35,000 a year, depending on the subject you are studying.

When you add this to the average cost of living for students in the UK, which is around £12,056 per year according to the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS), you could be spending at least £20,000 per year to study in the UK.

However, bear in mind that if you’re studying in London you can expect to pay more. The NUS estimates that students in London fork out around £15,180 per year for living costs alone.

Accommodation costs

After tuition fees, the next biggest expense is accommodation. The amount you pay will depend on the type of housing you choose and the location, which can range from approximately £80 to £250 a week. For a more accurate estimation of accommodation costs, contact your chosen university or college directly.

However, for those studying in London, the cost of renting is much higher compared to the rest of the UK. For example, the NUS estimates an increase of around £1,200 in rent costs per year for those living in the capital city.

It’s also worth noting that most university accommodation includes utility costs likes gas and electricity.

Other living expenses to consider

You’ll also need to consider the cost of other necessities such as food, groceries, transport, leisure activities, and study equipment. The UK government estimates that, on average, students spend around £104 per week on additional living costs on top of rent.

However, don’t forget that these figures are only a rough guide and the amount you spend can vary significantly based on your personal spending habits and lifestyle.

Visa fees

Another important consideration is the cost of a student visa. If you’re from outside the UK, a Tier 4 student visa costs £335 per person. If you are already in the UK and want to extend your visa, you can choose between the standard service which costs £457 and takes eight weeks to process, the priority service which costs £916 and takes 10 days or the premium service which costs £1,047 and is processed on the same day.

If you’re applying for a short-term study visa, it costs £93 for a six month visa or £179 for an 11 month visa.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re an international student applying for a short-term study visa or a Tier 4 visa, you will need to provide evidence that you can financially support yourself while studying in the UK. The UK Home Office requires students studying in London to budget £1,265 for each month, while those studying elsewhere in the UK must budget for £1,015 in order to prove they can cover the cost of living.

Immigration health surcharge

You may also need to pay an immigration health surcharge. If you’re applying for a visa from outside of the UK, you will need to pay the health surcharge if you’re a national of a non EU/EEA country or Switzerland, or you’re applying for a visa to study in the UK for more than six months. The cost of the healthcare surcharge for a student visa is £150 for every year you plan to study.

This surcharge must be paid upfront, in full, and as part of your application fee online. When you have paid the surcharge and your visa has been granted, you can start using the National Health Service. However, you may still need to pay for other services, such as dental treatments, eye appointments and medicine prescriptions.

Why do I need G8-Way Membership?

There’s no getting around the fact that the cost of study abroad can be expensive, and making a simple mistake that breaches the conditions of your visa could mean losing all this investment with no return.

When you have been granted a visa to study in the UK, there will be a set of strict rules and regulations you will need to follow to ensure that it is protected. If you breach any of these rules, even if it is unintentional, you risk having your visa revoked and having to leave the UK.

It’s also important to note that having a Tier 4 visa allows you to work while you study to earn some extra money to help cover your living costs. You are permitted to work up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during the holidays on these visas. However, you are not allowed to work if you have a short-term study visa.

How we can help

At G8Way, we understand how crucial it is to protect your student Visa status. We provide tailored Member Benefits which can help protect your Visa status in times of need, so that if you violate the rules of your Visa, even by accident, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you have access to specialist legal advice and the support you need.

Whether you need help and guidance or want to access our Member Benefits, don’t hesitate to contact us today.


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