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Cost of living in the UK for international students

7 min read
Blog Summary This article provides a comprehensive guide to the cost of living in the UK for international students. It breaks down the expenses into various categories, including tuition fees for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, off-campus accommodation costs in different cities, transportation expenses, groceries, living expenses, and healthcare surcharge. Tuition fees vary by region and course, and some universities offer reductions. Accommodation costs differ by city, with London being the most expensive. Public transport is widely used, and costs vary by location. The article also covers healthcare through the National Health Cover charge (NHS) and provides insights into the average cost of living, estimated at GBP 12,000 for a student.
Cost of living in the UK for international students

Great Britain holds great expectations for international students. But, what is the cost of living in the UK?

What will be the average monthly cost in the UK for an international student?

What are the tuition fees, accommodation costs, transport, and all other costs associated with studying and living in the UK?

We have done the maths for you, keep reading to find out more

Cost of Education in the UK

Studying in the UK includes the cost of tuition fees, living expenses, and other academic investments that make up the total of your cost of education in the UK.

While your cost of living in the UK may vary depending on multiple other factors, your tuition fee is something that will be definite. AECC Global brings you an estimate of tuition fees for undergraduates, postgraduates, and doctoral degrees.

But, before we move forward let's find out a little more about tuition fees.

What are tuition fees? 

Tuition fees are the basic charge of universities and colleges to cover key elements of your course. These elements include:

  • Lectures, seminars, and tutorials
  • Course admin cost
  • Course-related stuff like your labs, studios, library, computer rooms
  • Support service for students
  • Student union membership
  • Field trips
  • Graduation ceremony

Tuition fees for Undergraduate programs in the UK

The exact cost of tuition fees depends on the course, where the student comes from, and the place of the university. However, below is a rough estimate of tuition fees for undergraduate courses in the UK 

Tuition fees by region for courses starting in 2022 to 2023

Student's home region

Studying in England

Studying in Scotland

Studying in Wales

Studying in Northern Ireland


Up to £9,250

Up to £9,250

Up to £9,000

Up to £9,250


Up to £9,250

No fee

Up to £9,000

Up to £9,250


Up to £9,250

Up to £9,250

Up to £9,000

Up to £9,250

Northern Ireland

Up to £9,250

Up to £9,250

Up to £9,000

Up to £4,395

EU and other international*





Cost of Postgraduate courses in the UK

There are multiple factors that determine the cost of postgraduate courses in the UK. The cost depends on course duration, and the institute primarily.

As per the Universities and College Admission Service (UCAS), tuition fees range from GBP 4,000- 30,000 annually with an average of 11,000 GBP per year.

This cost can be a concern to many international students. But, universities offer Tuition Fee Reduction to international students. 

What are Tuition Fee Reductions? 

Universities in the UK may consider a reduction in your tuition fees depending on the country of your origin. The tuition fee reductions are made by the universities that are in accordance with public funding literature.

Monthly Cost of Off-Campus Accommodation in the UK 

Most universities in the UK will provide on-campus accommodation facilities known as the 'Hall of Residence' for International Students. However, some students choose to live off-campus and that comes as a separate cost for international students.

We break down these costs for you to make an informed choice while studying in the UK. 

What is Off-campus Accommodation in the UK? 

Off-Campus accommodation is a residence chosen by students that are not part of the university.

The off-campus accommodation will cost you rent, council tax, and utility bills along with your weekly/monthly grocery bills. Rent will depend on the city you choose to live in. Here is the breakdown of the rent depending on the city. 

Kmow Benefits of Studying in UK

Accommodation Costs in the UK:

London is the most expensive city in the UK. Student accommodations will cost around GBP 1200 for basic facilities in central locations of the city.

Manchester is pretty good with its property market and students can find good accommodation in the range of GBP 500-700 monthly.

Liverpool is in the same price range as Manchester and if you extend your budget to 285 GBP per week you may find some pretty instagrammable furnished studio apartments in Central Liverpool.

Glasgow again is on the expensive side and students wanting to live close to university will have to pay a rent of GBP 800-1000 monthly.

Edinburgh is also an expensive property market although students can make a pick with their area and rent a decent furnished student accommodation between GBP 700-1000

AECC Global TIP:

If you choose student accommodation then you may or may not be eligible for council tax.

We recommend you check with your real estate agent and then make a final call on the accommodation.

Monthly Cost of Frequent Transport Use 

International students making a move to the United Kingdom might not hop on the idea of buying/renting a car. Public transport will be their go-to pick for travel.

The United Kingdom has pretty good public transport connectivity and students can avail of student discount cards with their university ID cards.

Even with student ID discount cards, transportation comes at a heavy cost and is highly dependent on the city you live in.

Here is the transportation cost breakdown for you:

London: Bus & Tram pass or Oyster Card will be your friend when in London. You can either buy a monthly pass or get a pay-as-you-go card which you can use as and when you want to use it.

The monthly bus cap is 62.20 GBP

Manchester: FirstBus service is the bus service of Manchester and they have 2 options for students.

  • You can buy a monthly bus pass for 49.50 GBP
  • Or else you can buy Terms by Bus Pass.
  • Student Term 1. Starts from Sep 1- Dec 31 -135 GBP
  • Student All Term: Starts from Sep 1- July 16, 2023-280 GBP

Liverpool: If you are a student in Liverpool, bus tickets are valid only for students from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool John Moores University, and the University of Chester.

Liverpool bus service also has term-wise bus passes which cost from 135 GBP to 355 GBP covering your entire semester period.

Glasgow: FirstBus is again the bus service company in Glasgow with student discount passes available daily, weekly, monthly, and annually.

Monthly is around 60 and annually you pay 400-500 GBP depending if it is a city or network base pass. 

Cost of Groceries & Food Items in the UK 

The cost of living in the UK per month has gone considerably up due to inflation. And, therefore it becomes important for international students to learn about the latest groceries and food prices to know their monthly spending. 





Fresh Milk



GBP 2.4-3


GBP 6-8


GBP 1.5


GBP 1.5 10 pieces


GBP 1.8


GBP 3-7 depending on the type of cheese


BP 0.5


GBP 0.5-1


GBP 2-3


GBP 2-3


GBP 1.5-3.4


GBP 0.5


GBP 2-8 


GBP 0.7-1.5

Olive Oil

GBP 2.5- 4

Sunflower Oil

GBP 0.80-1.50

Living expenses in the UK for international students

Now that we have covered the average monthly grocery expense, there is a living expense in the UK which covers your council tax, TV licence, mobile, utility bills like your water, gas, and electricity bills, leisure, socialising, and Healthcare surcharge.

We try to list down a rough estimate of these figures so students wanting to move to the United Kingdom can make an informed move to the country of their dreams. 

Council Tax: It is dependent on the county and accommodation type and area. A typical range starts from GBP 40 in the United Kingdom.

TV Licence: GBP 159 per year or else you can pay it weekly or monthly basis.

Mobile Phones: GBP 15-20 which will include your unlimited International calls

Utility Bills- Electricity, gas, and water bills are dependent on your choice of accommodation. If it is an old property with old radiators and piping the bills are set to be on a higher side, whereas newly built properties will have it on the lower end.

Sports centres and socialising can cost anywhere from GBP 20-150 depending on the choice of your outing. 

Health Cover in the UK for International Students

The National Health Cover charge (NHS) provides free healthcare to all residents of the United Kingdom. So, if you are an international student you will receive the same healthcare benefits as British citizens.

Although, you just need to pay a healthcare surcharge at the same time you apply for a student visa UK. 

What is the cost of healthcare surcharge for International students in the UK? 

International students need to pay GBP 470 annually as their healthcare surcharge along with their annual visa renewal charge. Students with a course duration of six months or less pay a healthcare surcharge of GBP 235

How does the NHS work for international students in the UK? 

  • Register with your local GP
  • Your local GP will be the first point of contact
  • Also, you can go to walk-in clinics
  • After clinic working hours, if there is an emergency you can visit the Emergency of your county
  • Online GP Consultations is also an option for students in the UK

We hope this blog helped you get insights into the average cost of living in the UK. For any other information regarding universities, please feel free to contact our guidance counsellors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does it cost to live in the UK as a student?
The cost of living in the UK is hugely dependent on the location of your university. However, GBP 12,000 is the average cost of living in the UK for a student, calculated by various channels including a rough estimate made by the government of the UK.
2. Can I get PR in the UK after studying?
Yes, you can apply for PR after finishing undergraduate or postgraduate studies in the UK. The requirement to get a PR in the UK is through a full-time job requirement and good moral conduct. There are a few steps to follow in order to obtain permanent residency in the UK.
3. How many hours can a student work in the UK?
A student can work 20 hours per week while studying in the UK.
4. What is the cost of a UK student visa?
To apply for a student visa to the UK, it costs about GBP 457 on standard service.
5. How much are the energy bills per month for a UK student?
The energy and utility bills in the UK are primarily dependent on the student's type of accommodation, and city of residence. On average, it can range from GBP 40-100 per month.

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