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Living Cost in UK for International Students: A Comprehensive Breakdown

Living Cost in UK for International Students

Deciding to study in the UK is a thrilling step for many international students, but it comes with the worrying task of budgeting for life in a new country. 

According to the UKVI, the required monthly living costs differ significantly between London and other parts of the UK. 

This guide offers a comprehensive breakdown of these expenses, including tuition, accommodation, and daily living costs, helping you manage your finances wisely as an international student in the UK.

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1. Accommodation Costs

Accommodation forms a significant portion of an international student’s expenses in the UK. The costs vary largely between living in London and elsewhere. 

  • University Accommodation: Halls of residence offer a secure and social living environment, often with meals included. However, they can be pricier, especially in London. Expect to pay around £600-£800 per month in London and £400-£600 per month elsewhere.
  • Shared Accommodation: Flat-sharing is a popular option for budget-conscious students. Renting a room in a shared house or apartment can cost anywhere from £400-£600 per month in London and £300-£500 per month outside.
  • Private Renting: While offering more privacy, renting an entire studio flat or apartment is the most expensive option. Prices can range from £800-£1200 per month in London and £500-£800 per month in other cities.

💡Tip: Research and book accommodation well in advance, especially for semesters with high student influx. Consider location – living further from the city center may offer cheaper rents but involve longer commutes.

Read More: Top 10 Affordable Universities In The UK For International Students

2. Daily Living Expenses

Daily living expenses encompass food, household items, leisure activities, and other essentials. 

For a moderate lifestyle, an international student in London can expect their monthly expenses (excluding rent) to be about £400-£700. 

This includes groceries (£200-£300), utilities if living off-campus (£40-£60), leisure and social activities (£100-£200), and academic materials (£60-£100). 

Outside London, these expenses drop slightly to £300-£600 per month due to the generally lower cost of living.

3. Healthcare and Insurance Costs

All international students in the UK need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their visa application, granting them access to the National Health Service (NHS) at the same level as a permanent UK resident. 

The current rate is £470 per year for students. While this covers most healthcare services, including appointments with a general practitioner and hospital treatments, dental and optical services may incur additional costs.

4. Transportation Costs

Living Cost in UK for International Students

A major chunk of living expenses is allocated to transportation costs, which vary greatly depending on the location. 

London, with its extensive public transportation network, offers an 18+ Student Oyster photocard, allowing students to receive 30% off travel cards and Bus & Tram pass season tickets, but it still means an average monthly cost of around £90-£130 for zones 1-2. 

Outside London, students may rely more on buses and trains, with costs averaging £40-£70 per month. Biking is a cost-effective alternative that many students choose.

Total Living Cost in UK for International Students

In London, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) estimates living costs at £12,007 for an academic year (9 months), roughly translating to £1,334 per month. Outside London, this estimate drops to £9,207 per year, or about £1,027 per month. 

Financial Tips for International Students in the UK

Use these 5 tips to better manage your living costs as an international student in the UK: 

  1. Create a Budget: Track your income and expenses to stay on top of your finances. There are many budgeting apps available to help you manage your money effectively.
  1. Part-time Work: International students are allowed to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during holidays) to supplement their income. Explore on-campus jobs, tutoring opportunities, or freelance work related to your skills.
  1. Open a Student Bank Account: Many banks offer student accounts with benefits like fee-free transactions and discounts.
  1. Cook at Home: Eating out regularly can be expensive. Cooking meals at home is a budget-friendly way to stay healthy.
  1. Utilize Student Discounts: From travel and entertainment to meals and shopping, student discounts are plentiful in the UK. Take advantage of them whenever possible.

Read More: What To Pack When Moving Overseas As A Student

Wrapping Up 

Living Cost in UK for International Students

While studying in the UK presents an incredible opportunity, it’s accompanied by the challenge of managing living costs. 

By understanding and planning for these expenses, you can focus more on your academic pursuits and enjoy the rich cultural experience the UK has to offer. 

Remember, careful budgeting and making use of available student resources and discounts can significantly ease the financial strain and enhance your overall study abroad experience.

Looking to streamline your study abroad application to the UK? Get in touch with AS Overseas Education Consultants— the leading education consultant in Pakistan with over 2,500+ successful student applications. 


Q: What is the average cost of tuition for international students in the UK?

A: The average cost of tuition can vary significantly depending on the type of course and the university. Typically, international undergraduate tuition fees start at around £10,000 per year and can go up to £38,000 or more for premium programs like medicine or MBA.

Q: How can international students find affordable accommodation in the UK?

A: International students can explore university halls of residence, private student halls, or shared flats. Websites like Student Room and Accommodation for Students provide listings tailored to student budgets and needs.

Q: Are there additional costs international students should consider when studying in the UK?

A: Yes, beyond tuition and accommodation, students should budget for daily living expenses, transportation, healthcare, and personal expenses like mobile phone plans and leisure activities.

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Azmi is a versatile and creative writer with a passion for storytelling. With substantial experience in the education industry, combined with a keen eye on current trends-- he's able to provide in-depth insights to compliment our services.


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