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Cost of living for an International Student in the UK

Cost of living for an International Student in the UK

How much money do you need to study in the UK? And how much is the cost of student accommodation in the UK? These are the most asked questions by prospective international students, who wish to study in the UK.


To understand the cost of living in the UK for an international student it is very important to understand the type of visa required to study in the UK. Tier 4 visa is what an international student would require to study in the UK. The sponsor for Tier 4 purposes is the educational institution where the student will study for the choice of course at the university. As part of the visa application, the student must be able to show sufficient funds to cover the course fees and living costs for each month of the opted course up to a maximum of 9 months. The UK Home office calls these funds a ‘maintenance requirement’


It will be unfair for international students to start their amazing study abroad journey with a mind full of worries related to finances and budgeting. Hence Zoom Abroad have prepared this guide to help you with the cost of overall living including the student accommodation in the UK. You can divide your monthly expenditure broadly into 6 categories;

  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • Food
  • Entertainment
  • Internet/TV
  • Miscellaneous


Accommodation: For international students, the cost of student accommodation in the UK largely depends on the type of accommodation you choose. Students can choose to live in dorms or university residences or opt for private flats or shared housing. Most universities in the UK give you the chance to live on-campus. These on-campus residence halls are usually within walking distance of the campus, and it helps to save on transportation costs. The cost of student accommodation in the UK will also vary according to the city you choose to study in. London, being the capital city is more expensive than other towns and cities in the UK.

The average monthly cost of student accommodation in the UK;


 Type of student accommodation in the UK  London Other cities
University Residence£727£515
Private Housing£848£505


Transport: Transport will consume the second biggest chunk of your monthly budget after student accommodation costs in the UK. The cost will mainly depend on the city and the mode of transport you are using. Other than walking and cycling (The best way to keep fit and maintain social distancing ) you can use public transport. They usually offer student discounts which are sometimes as good as 50% off. Taking private cabs and taxis can really mess with your monthly budget.


 CityAverage monthly transport costs


Food: When you choose to live in student accommodations inside the university campus, you can save on the food and transportation costs big time. International students living privately must consider food costs in their monthly budget planning. British shops and supermarkets stock a wide range of food products. You can reduce the cost of grocery shopping by buying fresh food from local markets. You can also plan your meals and share food expenses with your housemates and friends. Finally, you can buy from budget supermarkets. The average food cost per month is different depending on the city and could range from £167 - £200.


Entertainment: It’s not all study when you go to the UK. You should take the opportunity of exploring as much as you. A cinema ticket in the UK costs around £8, a pint of beer for £3, a DVD rental for around £3. These are all costs that need to be budgeted to set aside and have fun!


Entertainment ItemPrice (Student discount included)
Movie Ticket£10.12
Concert or Theatre Ticket£50.57
Restaurant Table for Two£50



Internet / TV: While studying and living abroad, It's imperative to be in touch with family and friends. Also, looking at the growing demand for social media and OTT platforms, SIM cards with call and data packages, Wi-Fi, and television fees are the important cost to consider while planning your monthly budget.


ConnectivityAverage Monthly Cost
Pre-paid SIM package£10.12
TV + Wi-Fi package         £50.54
TV License£156.25
Call Costs£0.15-0.46
OTT Platforms (Netflix)£11.99


Miscellaneous - Apart from the above costs like the cost of student accommodation in the UK, travel, and food there are other expenses you must include in the budget like internet, books, toiletries, phone plan, clothing, and other items and services. Make sure that to save a certain amount of cash for potential health care issues that come up, excess school costs that you weren’t expecting, and general emergencies.

Therefore, these miscellaneous items are also important and should be included in the student cost of living in the UK


Miscellaneous ItemsCost
Clothes£30 -£50
Household Items£20 - £40
Toiletries£20 -£35
Stationery £15-£30


Ways to cut your student costs in the UK;


Once an idea is received about what the student budget is going to look like, here are some tried-and-tested money tips to cut your costs as a student.

  • The student Travelcard is a must
  • Get your books second hand
  • Shop at the right place
  • Plan your night outs
  • Reduce your energy bills
  • Flexible student jobs
  • Plan your meals


Always ask for student discounts


Zoom Abroad aims to help international students find the best-fit university for themselves. Explore the platform and find out more about the cost of student accommodation in the UK along with course tuition fees for the top universities in the UK.


Scholarships and Education loans

The UK provides a vast number of Scholarships to study in the UK, particularly for postgraduate students. There are also a number of undergraduate scholarships for international students to study in the UK. Majorly, there are three types of scholarships in the UK for international students-

a. Global scholarships

b. Country-specific scholarships

c. University scholarships

Apart from scholarships, student loans to study in the UK can play a significant role in easing financial stress.


Tier4 UK Student VISA


To apply for a UK student visa, check the documents listed below for a seamless process.

  • letter of acceptance from the university you have been accepted to (CAS)
  • Proof of funds.
  • A valid passport and recent photographs.
  • Details of your university and accommodation.
  • Report of your health checkup
  • A valid passport. (keep a page blank for the visa)
  • Original mark sheets/transcripts


After collecting all the documents, Follow the steps below to apply for a UK student’s Visa.

  • Sign up and submit your visa application form online. It is advisable to check the online appointment calendar to book an appointment. After submission, you will get an email with an application number.
  • After receiving the email, Pay the fees, and collect the receipt.
  • Now appear for the visa interview as per the scheduled appointment and submit the necessary biometrics, photograph, application, and other documents.
  • You will get your tier 4 student visa in 6 weeks time.


A new route to a career in the UK signified as the “Graduate Immigration Route” and according to the UK Home Office, the GIR will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance and who have a valid Tier 4 UK student visa at the time of application.


Zoom Abroad is a great platform that can help you find the best programs for you in the UK. Register here and create your profile today to get matched with the best-fit medical programs offered by the top UK universities. Book a 30 mins FREE consultation with an expert advisor today. Other than STEM courses like Engineering, Medicine and, MBA there are various other undergraduate and master's programs you can explore to figure out which one is the most suitable based on your profile and long term goals.




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