Category: Living

How much does it cost to live in the UK?

Government requirements for a Tier 4 Visa state that international students need a certain amount of money to cover their living costs per month. For students in London (and some surrounding areas, including Essex, Hertfordshire, and Surrey), the amount is £1,256 for each month of study. For students across the rest of the UK, it is £1,015 per month.

So, that’s what you officially need, but how much does it actually cost to live in the UK? The answer depends on where you choose to study. Traditionally, the north of England is cheaper than the south, whilst prices in Scotland and Wales are also relatively low. It also depends on what kind of student you will be. Those who enjoy going out and socialising will certainly spend more than those who are more introverted. We're here to help with our guide to living costs in the UK, broken down into specific cities and regions.

 

First, there are a few things to consider when calculating living costs:

  • Accommodation and bills; most university accommodation includes bills as part of the rent costs. Whilst this initially looks more expensive than the rent in private accommodation, it does tend to work out more cost-effective in the long run.
  • Travel; as a student, using public transport will be a regular occurrence for you! Does your chosen city have a good public transport system (most university towns and cities in the UK do), and how much does it cost? We would always recommend purchasing a Young Person’s Railcard, which gives you a third off of all train tickets within the UK!
  • Food and clothing; a large proportion of your monthly costs, after rent and bills, will go towards food and clothing. Find the nearest local discount stores to you, UK university towns and cities have plenty! Your student ID card will also give you plenty of discounts at various clothing shops across the country.
  • Communication; think about what you will mainly use your phone for whilst you are over here. Most UK city centres, and university campuses, have widespread, decent quality Wi-Fi that is free to use. Apps like Skype and WhatsApp mean you can contact your loved ones back home for free.
  • Course costs; this can include anything from printing costs, to books and stationery. Try using online resources as much as possible, they’re a far more environmentally friendly way of saving money!
  • Social and activities; clubs and societies at UK universities often have a yearly joining fee. Universities also tend to have their own gym and sports facilities, offered at a reduced rate to students. Depending on your social preferences, you will also need to consider spending money for going out. Most UK towns and cities have a great nightlife scene for students, offering various cheap deals and offers.

For more advice on saving money as a student, check out our Money Saving Tips for Students in the UK.

 

UK living costs map

1 – Plymouth

Location: South-West England

University: Plymouth University

Average tuition costs: £13,250

Average monthly rent = £476

Average monthly food bill = £140

Average monthly travel costs = £28

 Average monthly 'going out' costs = £54

 

2 – Brighton

Location: South-East England

Universities: University of SussexUniversity of Brighton

Average tuition costs: £14,600

Average monthly rent = £477

Average monthly food bill = £160

Average monthly travel costs = £50

Average monthly 'going out' costs = £54


3 – Nottingham
 

Location: East-Midlands, England

Universities: University of NottinghamNottingham Trent University

Average tuition costs: £11,770

Average monthly rent = £422

Average monthly food bill = £160

Average monthly travel costs = £60

Average monthly 'going out' costs = £58


4 – Birmingham
 

Location: West-Midlands, England

Universities: University of BirminghamAston UniversityBirmingham City UniversityUniversity College Birmingham

Average tuition costs: £12,662

Average monthly rent = £418

Average monthly food bill =  £200

Average monthly travel costs = £84

Average monthly 'going out' costs = £36


5 – Cardiff

Location: Wales

Universities: Cardiff UniversityCardiff Metropolitan UniversityUniversity of South Wales

Average tuition costs: £13,100

Average monthly rent = £325

Average monthly food bill = £98

Average monthly travel costs = £49

Average monthly 'going out' costs = £46


6 – Leeds
 

Location: Yorkshire, England

Universities: University of LeedsLeeds Trinity UniversityLeeds Beckett University

Average tuition costs: £12,100

Average monthly rent = £421

Average monthly food bill = £120

Average monthly travel costs = £46

Average monthly 'going out' costs = £55


7 – Liverpool
 

Location: North-West England

Universities: University of LiverpoolLiverpool Hope UniversityLiverpool John Moores University

Average tuition costs: £11,576

Average monthly rent = £397

Average monthly food bill = £200

Average monthly travel costs = £80

Average monthly 'going out' costs = £57


8 – Newcastle
 

Location: North-East England

Universities: Newcastle UniversityNorthumbria University

Average tuition costs: £12,657

Average monthly rent = £406

Average monthly food bill = £200

Average monthly travel costs = £60

Average monthly 'going out' costs = £68


9 – Edinburgh
 

Location: Scotland

Universities: University of EdinburghEdinburgh Napier UniversityHeriot-Watt UniversityQueen Margaret University

Average tuition costs: £13,980

Average monthly rent = £448

Average monthly food bill = £260

Average monthly travel costs = £45

Average monthly 'going out' costs = £61


10 – Belfast
 

Location: Northern Ireland

Universities: Queens University BelfastUlster University

Average tuition costs: £13,495

Average monthly rent = £295

Average monthly food bill = £200

Average monthly travel costs = £40

Average monthly 'going out' costs = £59

 

All the information shown above is gained from university websites, and the Student Living Index. Costs are correct at the time of publishing. Get in touch if you would like to know more!

 

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Cover image credit:  https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/hr/recruitment/induction/internationalnew/livingcosts