Cost of Living
in UK

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Note: The education loan information on this page is provided only for the information of the website users, digibank by DBS doesn’t offer this product at the moment.

Key Takeaways

  • The United Kingdom comprises England, Scotland & Northern Ireland.
  • Of these, London in England and Edinburgh in Scotland are popular destinations for international students.
  • As a student, your living expenses in UK primarily include tuition fees, accommodation, transportation, food and health care.
  • You can reduce your expenditure by opting for on-campus accommodation.
  • Most UK universities also require you to buy a comprehensive health insurance plan to manage your health care expenses.

Cost of Living in UK: Your One-stop Guide

As an Indian student aspiring to study abroad, you may be inclined towards the United States of America or the United Kingdom. You may even find yourself drawn to the UK over the US for many reasons. The UK is home to some of the world’s oldest and most prestigious educational institutions, with a fifth of the world’s top 50 universities situated in this country. However, the UK is also one of the most expensive countries globally, so you should be aware of the cost of living in the UK if you wish to study here. This article helps you understand the expenses you should consider as an international student in the United Kingdom.

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Average Cost of Living in the UK

Compared to most other countries in Europe, living in the UK, especially in a city like London, can be more expensive, and yet not as expensive as living in New York, USA. The cost of living in UK largely depends on which country and city you choose to study in; England, Scotland, or Northern Ireland. Some of the best universities in the UK are situated in the cities of London, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds in England, as well as in Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. Your actual expenses will therefore depend on the city and neighbourhood of your school.

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Necessary Expenses

While calculating the monthly cost of living in the UK as an international student, you must consider five major and unavoidable types of expenses. They are as under:

  1. Accommodation

    Like with every big city in the world, the monthly cost of living in UK as a student depends on whether you choose to live on or off-campus. Most universities provide on-campus accommodation, also known as 'halls of residence.' These halls are owned and managed by universities and generally include double occupancy rooms with a shared lounge area and kitchen. Also, utility expenses such as electricity, gas, water, and internet are often included in your costs, making this type of accommodation a less expensive choice. Private renting is yet another option you can consider if you seek to live independently. However, this can prove to be quite expensive and does not include the cost of utilities. In the UK, average rent per month in university residences is around £727 in London and £515 in other cities. Similarly, private housing in London will cost you about £848, whereas that in other cities will be around £500, excluding utility bills.

  2. Transport

    UK’s extensive and sophisticated train network connects you to various towns and cities; for instance, you can travel from London to Edinburgh within 4 hours. As a full-time student between the 16-25 age groups, you can apply for a 16-25 railcard and save a third on your rail travel throughout the country. Students living in London also can buy a top-up student oyster card or add it to the 16-25 railcard to get further discounts. A one-way ticket on the oyster card can cost up to £2.50, whereas a monthly pass can cost about £65, and a 16-25 railcard costs £30. The monthly pass may cover you for both train and bus rides within London city. While calculating your transportation expenses, remember to calculate the costs of travelling to the UK and visiting India, which will be a significant expense.

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  3. Food

    A great way to manage the cost of living in UK for Indian or international students is to live on-campus, as it includes meal plans and reduces your food expenses considerably. The cost of the meal plans differs from city to city and school to school. Also, the meal plan may not include all meals. Most universities also have on-campus canteens where you can eat at subsidised rates. If you choose to live in private accommodation, you can apply for grocery store memberships and buy your groceries at discounted rates.

  4. Schools

    While speaking of UK life cost for students, school fees take the centre stage as this is your prime expenditure. Most high-ranking universities in the UK have their own fee structure. Typically arts, education, and humanities courses are cheaper, whereas courses in business, medicine and engineering tend to be more expensive. On average, an undergraduate bachelor and post-graduate master’s degree will cost you anywhere from £10,000 to £20,000 per year, whereas a doctoral degree can cost about £15,000 to £24,000 per year.

  5. Healthcare

    Many universities in UK have initiated health insurance plans for international students. But this insurance is valid only so long as you continue to attend the program you have enrolled in. It ceases to exist once you leave the university or graduate. As per the National Health Service, you, as an international student, have to pay anywhere from £150 - £300 per annum for the duration of your stay in the UK on a student visa. The insurance fee also depends on whether you live in the UK for less or more than six months in a calendar year. You can consult your university for more information on health care charges.

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Other Costs

Besides the above-mentioned living expenses in UK, you also need to consider some additional costs. These include:

Expenses Type

Average cost in GBP

Monthly Utility bills (heating, electricity, cooling, water, garbage disposal)


Monthly internet expenses


Monthly mobile expenses


Textbooks and Stationery


Entertainment expenses (movie tickets)

£9 per person

Meal at fast-food chains and inexpensive restaurants

£6 - £12 per person

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

£25 per person

1 litre of gasoline


Monthly gymnasium/fitness club membership


Toiletries (shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toilet paper etc.)




Single-visit to a doctor’s clinic


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average monthly cost of living in UK for a student, and what are the most significant expenses to consider besides tuition fees?

The average cost of living for students in the UK can be 185-200 per week (750-800 per month). Your most significant expenses will come in the form of accommodation costs, followed by food expenses.

I wish to work to manage my living expenses in UK. Am I allowed, and what kind of jobs can I take?

If you are in the UK on the Tier 4 Visa, i.e., the official student visa, you are allowed to work. However, you may only work part-time, for up to 20 hours a week during your full-time bachelor’s course. You may work full days during your breaks and vacations. Note that some universities may only permit you to work on campus.

What is the best way to pay for my expenses in the UK?

The best way to pay for your education expenses in the UK is to open a digibank by DBS Savings Account. You can use this account to receive instant online remittances from your parents in India. You can also download the digibank by DBS mobile app to check your statement and balances at the click of a few buttons. Once you graduate and decide to work in the UK, you can use the same account to send money back home.