The cost of studying in the UK: Part 2

Studying in the UK is a dream come true for many of us but at what price? Let’s start from the beginning i.e. choosing and applying to the university you would like to study in.

It is important to choose a university not just based on its ranking but also take into account the kind of subjects you would like to study and how the university can support you in your endeavour.

While tuition fees are a reflection of the university’s ranking – the higher the ranking, the higher the cost – there are good universities in the UK with very affordable tuition fees.

Most of these will be newer and younger as compared to traditional universities like Oxford and Cambridge, and will also offer a more diverse range of subjects and courses.

Universities such as University of Sunderland, University of Portsmouth and Anglia Ruskin University are not only affordable for international students, they also provide academic excellence with fantastic student support and pastoral care, leaving its graduates career-ready.

Things to consider: Costs and location

In 2017, international students paid between £10,000 and £35,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees and this amounted to about RM55,000 to RM190,000 per year.

Secondly, the location of the university will also influence how much money you will be spending during the three to four years of your studies there.

Some cities in the UK that have earned the title of affordability and cost-effectiveness are Aberdeen, Manchester, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Nottingham and Glasgow.

For example, Manchester is the UK’s second biggest city and is also ranked as the second most affordable UK city for students.

In Newcastle Upon Tyne, the cost of living is 39% cheaper than in London, with the cheapest available rent 65% lower than in the capital.

Most students will live in the university halls of residence in their first year before moving into rented private accommodation in the following years.

Cost of living expenses

A survey found that students spend an average of £125 per week on rent in the UK – with a huge regional variation: students in Northern Ireland spent only £91 a week, exactly half the amount spent by those in London (£182).

Unless bills are included, you’ll probably spend a further £50-70 per month on bills for utilities and the internet. The average annual cost for student accommodation is £4,875 (based on a 39-week contract) which totals to about RM26,000 per year.

Mobile phone bills would cost at least £15 per month and books and university equipment will cost £60 per month or less depending on your course.

A meal in a pub or restaurant can cost about £12 but if you buy your own food, a budget of £25 to £30 per week to purchase food supplies is more than enough.

You can be smart and savvy about this and save much more by shopping at Asda and Tesco.

If you live away from university, you will need to include travel expenses in your budget and this can be anything from £10 per week, and about double that if you live in London.

A lot of times, most students will look for accommodation within walking distance to the university and this will save up a lot of the transportation fees. Some universities also provide shuttle buses that students can take for free.

Students can have fun on a budget too

Life shouldn’t be all about study and no fun – a cinema ticket in UK will cost about £10, a typical night out will cost about £30 and gig tickets can range from £5 to £45, depending on the venue and acts.

Depending on your spending habits, you might spend £35-55 or so on shopping each month. One way to save on shopping is to use the NUS card which is a student ID card from the National Union of Students that you receive when you enrol as a student in UK. With this card you will be able to get discounts at many national stores.

Students can also work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time and can earn about £7 to £8 per hour. This would definitely help in reducing some of the living costs and allow the student a little bit more freedom in their spending.

Overall, studying in the UK is not as impossible as it seems. The UKVI estimates the cost of living to be about £9,135 for cities outside London and £11,385 for London.

However, most Malaysian students make do with a budget of £7,200 if living in cities out of London.

Added with the amount needed for tuition fees per year, you are looking at spending approximately RM105,000 to RM160,000 per year depending on your choice of university and location.

Article contributed by Interstudy Education Consultants Sdn. Bhd, Tel: 03 – 8601 9525 / 03 – 8601 9526 (Subang Office), Website: