Living in the UK

How much does it cost for an International student to stay in the UK during his/her study?

Living in UK can be a life changing experience and a great learning opportunity for the students. The cost of living however depends upon where the student is residing in UK and also the lifestyle of the student. A national survey conducted in 2017 in the UK found that on average a student spends GBP 125 per week for accommodation. However, students in Northern Ireland were spending GBP 91 per week as compared to GBP 185 in London. Accommodation rates therefore vary according to the place of residence in the UK. Besides accommodation the same survey also revealed that students spent GBP 75 to GBP 100 per month on utilities and internet.

The living cost can greatly vary from one location to another depending upon whether it is a big city like London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool or a small city where the population is less and the rental costs are lower too.

The UK government estimates that an International student will require different amounts of money based on whether s/he is studying inside London or outside London. Students must estimate the following amount for their first-year living expenses in addition to the tuition fee at the university, which are:

  • In London - £1,265 for each month of the course, up to a maximum of 9 months which amounts to £11385
  • Outside London and elsewhere in the UK - £1,015 for each month of the course, up to a maximum of 9 months amounting to £9135

Accommodation costs

In 2020, the average student rent came to £126 per week, or £547 a month, however, students in London can expect to pay an average of £182 a week, or £640 a month. The average annual cost for students is £4,914 (based on a 39-week contract). Most rents include bills of some kind, although one-third of students will pay bills on top of rent. The accommodation cost can vary highly given its proximity from the centre. Accommodation in central London or within the central city will be more expensive. Students usually commute from their accommodation to the university places in train or trams or buses. 


At the end of a typical three-year undergraduate degree, the expected total cost for accommodation is £14,742. Students will typically stay in university accommodation for the first year and then move to private housing for the second and third years. University accommodation costs will vary depending on where in the UK the student is based and which kind of accommodation they opt for.

Other essential student costs

Utility bills (water, gas and electric) in rented accommodation are approximately £50 per month, with mobile phone bills ranging from £10 to £60. Broadband internet costs about £20 per month, however this is usually split between tenants.

Books and university equipment, on average, will cost £15 per week, or £60 per month.

Outside London and other major university cities, an average single bus journey is about £1.50 and £45 a month for a student travel card. Students at central London universities should expect to spend £23 a week on travel (covering London Underground, buses, trams and trains) or £140 a month.

Students also benefit from one-third off travel on regional trains with a 16-25 Railcard. For example, a single adult ticket booked on the day of travel from London to Brighton (a popular day trip destination) is £17.50, or £11.50 with a student railcard. On average, a litre of petrol costs £1.16, while a litre of diesel is £1.18.

Including self-catered accommodation, food, course costs, transport, socialising and utility contracts, the average living cost a year for 2016 was £8,990 – amounting to £26,970 across a three-year period.

Liffestyle

The average weekly food bill in the UK is £50, although this could be lower if you stay in private catered halls. Food bill costs also vary depending on your diet and where you are living in the country. A meal in a pub costs £8 to £12, with a restaurant meal costing about £10 to £25. The average price of a cinema ticket is £7.41, while a Big Mac is £3.39. A pint of beer comes to about £3.67 and a 175ml glass of wine is £4. However, prices in London and cities in the South will be higher than in cities in the North. 


A typical night out including travel, drinks and club or event entry is approximately £30. Gig tickets range from £5 to £45, depending on the venue and acts. It is important to note that in many places you may be able to receive student prices or a student discount, such as at the cinema, theatre, in restaurants and in a number of shops. So be sure to always carry your university student card with you, or explore discount cards and websites for students that may have some good deals. 

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