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Cost of Living in the United Kingdom for an Indian Student

The United Kingdom has always been one of the most preferred choices for higher education by Indians and students from all across the globe. Institutions like Oxford University, London School of Economics, University of Cambridge, and Imperial College London are among the world’s most prestigious education centres.

Oversea education can be quite expensive due to high university fee structures which gets further inflated when one takes into account the cost of living.

The United Kingdom’s cost of living is generally much higher as compared to other countries. Let’s delve deeper into what your cost of living budget should be if you are an Indian student going to the UK for education.

DetailsAverage Monthly Expenditure (GBP)
Tuition Fee (Undergraduate)7000 to 10,000 per annum
Tuition Fee (Postgraduate)15,000 to 25,000 per annum
Visa Charges1015 to 1265 One-time
Accommodation (Outside London)550 to 650 per month
Accommodation (London)1000 to 1500 per month
Utilities200 to 350 per month
Sustenance150 to 300 per month
Transportation (Outside London)100 – 150 per month
Transportation (London)150 – 200 per month
TaxesAs applicable

Tuition Fee

The tuition fee for your college or university is the highest contributor to the overall expenditure. Your overall cost of the living budget would significantly depend upon the type of degree you want to pursue and the college that you wish to enrol in. It’s a subjective matter and requires close evaluation of your lifestyle. In addition to this, the fee for your college also depends on the city where your college is located.

College fees related to disciplines like humanities and arts are usually cheaper than specialised fields like engineering and medicine. If you want to pursue your postgraduate degree from institutions in the UK, the fee can be even higher. On average, an undergraduate programme can cost you in the range of 7000 GBP to 10000 GBP annually. The average range for a doctoral degree is in the range of 15000 to 25000 GBP per annum.

Visa Charges

The first expense that you’ll need to bear is Visa processing fees. For studying in the UK, you will need to have a valid student visa. Indian students have to obtain a Tier 4 visa in order to be eligible to study in the UK.

As per the Tier 4 Visa requirements, students need to pay the tuition fee for the first academic year or will need to submit evidence that verifies financial security. In addition to this, documents showing sufficient funds for nine months’ worth of living expenses need to be provided. These charges come around 1015 GBP per month when accommodation is outside London and 1265 GBP per month when staying in London.

Accommodation Charges

Majority of colleges and Universities offer residential programs and have an on-campus residence to accommodate the students who enrol with the college. These facilities are known as Halls of Residence for international students. The Halls of Residence can be either self-catered or full board. It is among the most convenient option that you can opt for while pursuing your education in the UK. However, from the cost perspective, it can be a costly affair. This invites a lot of competition, and you need to apply beforehand to get a slot.

If your college doesn’t have on-campus accommodation or if you fail to get a slot, you will need to secure private accommodation. You can either go for a room on rent or opt for a paying guest facility. If you find it difficult to search for lodging, you can contact your university’s accommodation office for help. They can help you find suitable accommodation in the vicinity of the college. The cost of private accommodations is contingent on the city and varies dramatically depending on whether the accommodation is in the city of London or outside.

A one-bedroom accommodation can cost somewhere between 550 GBP to 650 GBP per month outside London and anywhere between £1000 – £1500 in the city of London.

Utilities

You will need to pay for utility expenses such as electricity, water, internet, etc. which can be in the range of 40-50 GBP each. In addition to this, you will need to pay for local community service charges, council tax, etc. In total, utilities can cost you anywhere between 200 to 300 GBP depending on your consumption and size of accommodation.

Tip: As a student, you can submit your university enrollment letter to the council and get a council tax waiver.

Sustenance

The residence halls at the universities and the private accommodation are generally equipped with a fully functional kitchen and most students tend to cook themselves. There are several supermarket chains across the country such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencers, Co-operative and the Waitrose. Most of the supermarkets sell basic ingredients for the preparation of Indian food. They generally also have pre-cooked, frozen Indian meals. There are other areas in London with a higher concentration of south-Asian communities, such as Brick Lane, Harrow, East-ham etc., which have specific Indian supermarkets and one can purchase almost any Indian ingredients or utensils in these shops. Students generally tend to take a trip to these areas once in a few weeks to stock up on food and other items.
Even the basic sustenance items are city dependent and can vary anywhere between £150 – £300 per month.

Transportation

In the UK, public transport is the most widely used means to get around. This includes the famous London Underground (called “The Tube”) and the iconic double-decker red buses.
The other cities in the UK such as Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford etc. also have their own bus, tram or train networks. Students also tend to use bicycles to get around the campus in university towns such as Cambridge and oxford.

For students, typically a monthly underground pass for the city of London varies between £180 – £250 depending on the zones selected. The rates are lesser for other cities.

Tip: Students can get special discounts on monthly transport passes after they present their student ID card.

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Mayank Goyal

Nice article

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