The United Kingdom (UK) is a premier destination for students from all across the globe where the quality of education offered in the UK is on par with that of the US, Canada, and Australia. However, the cost of studying in the UK for Indian students can prove to be an expensive affair. With proper planning and budgeting, students can systematically manage their expenses and fulfil their dream of studying in the UK. The cost to study in UK comes with expenses like accommodation, food, health coverage, travel expenses, and the tuition fee when looking for universities in the UK.

To study in the UK, one must apply for a student visa. UK Visas and Immigration handle the visa requirements and immigration criteria. Students can visit the official website of UK Visas and Immigration, which is easy to navigate and will help them determine whether they require a UK student visa. While students from Switzerland and those from the EU/EEA states do not require a visa to study in the UK, all other nationalities will need student visas to study in the UK.

This article will go over the cost of studying in the UK for Indian students; the UK student visa cost, the average tuition fees for UK universities, and living expenses.

Cost of Studying in the UK for Indian Students: Breakdown with Explanation

As mentioned above, pursuing higher studies in the UK can prove to be a costly affair. However, with the right planning and budgeting, students can attain their desired qualifications without compromising their quality of living. For this reason, students must have a fair idea of the various costs involved in studying in the UK.

UK University Tuition Fees

The fees for various universities will differ depending on the quality of the university, and the course opted for by the student. The fees for courses in medicine can amount to around GBP 35,000 per annum, whereas the fees for humanities courses can amount to around GBP 10,000 per annum.

The table below contains the list of the top universities in UK, their world ranking, and the average cost of tuition at these universities:

University Global Rank Average Tuition Fees (in GBP)
University of Oxford 5 26,770 - 37,510
University of Cambridge 7 24,750 - 34,678
Imperial College London 8 28,000 - 35,000
University College London (UCL) 10 18,120 - 46,120
University of Edinburg 20 23,200
University of Manchester 27 33,178
King's College London (KCL) 31 27170 - 30530
London School of Economics and Political Science 49 22,430 - 30,960

UK Living Expenses

The cost of living in the UK also varies depending on where the student is located. Students can either opt for campus accommodation or private residences. Student halls of residence are the more cost effective option and usually cost between GBP 400 and GBP 600 per month, including water, electricity, maintenance and dining charges. Students can opt for private accommodation and will usually have to spend between GBP 320 and GBP 530 a month. However, students will have to separately budget for expenses like water, electricity, gas, housekeeping - which might prove to be slightly costlier than campus accommodation. The average cost of living in London can amount to approximately GBP 15,000 per annum, whereas living expenses outside London can amount to approximately GBP 12,000.

The table below showcases the various associated costs of living in the UK for Indian students:

Particulars Monthly Cost (in GBP)
Water/ Electricity/ Gas 40 - 50
Food/ Housekeeping 160 - 200
Mobile Phone Charges 15 - 50
Books/ Stationary 21
Leisure/ Socializing 120

Travel Expenses

Students also have to account for travel expenses while studying in the UK. The UK has a comprehensive public transport system for both, short and long travel. Short travel consists of the following fares; bus, taxi and the UK metro. Long distance travel includes railway, bus (long-distance) and airfare. Students will most have to budget for short-distance transportation costs, though they may make a separate budget for long-distance travel should they choose to make trips across the country. All in all, students will have to spend an average of between GBP 1500 and GBP 3000 on travel every month.

Health Insurance

It is mandatory for international students to have health coverage while studying in the UK. Students can opt for health insurance in their immigration process. Usually, health insurance for international students will amount to GBP 470 a year.

UK Student Visa Cost

The first of the expenses that students will have to cover is the UK student visa fees. The fees will differ depending on the type of student visa opted for by the student. For the Tier-4 (General) student visa, the fee is GBP 348 or USD 440. Students will also have to pay a health surcharge of GBP 300 or USD 380.

For the short-term visa option, the 6-month fee is GBP 97, while the 11-month fee is GBP 186. A tabular representation of the different UK student visa options is given below:

Type of Visa Application Fees Additional Fees
Tier-4 (General) Student Visa GBP 348 GBP 300 (Health Surcharge)
Short-term Visa (6 months) GBP 97 -
Short-term Visa (11 months) GBP 186 -

Personal Finance Budgeting (on Visa Application)

Before being granted a Tier-4 (General) student visa, students must prove that they will be able to afford the living and educational expenses associated with studying in the UK. Students in London must be able to budget GBP 1,265 per month as part of their stay, whereas students outside London must budget GBP 1,015 for each month during their stay in the UK.

Working while Studying in the UK

Students having a Tier-4 (General) student visa from publicly funded universities can work up to 20 hours a week during their term and full-time during Christmas and Easter. Students aged 16 and 17 are allowed up to 10 hours of work per week. Students working while studying in the UK are liable to pay Income Tax and National Insurance. Those earning GBP 1,042 a week are liable to pay Income Tax, while those earning more than GBP 166 a week are liable to pay towards the National Insurance.

Types of UK Student Visas

A student above the age of 18 can apply for a short-term student visa for six months for short-term courses. The short-term student visa can be extended to 11 months in the case of English language courses. 

For a longer course, a student needs to have chosen an institution with a Tier-4 Sponsor License. There are two types of Tier-4 Sponsor Licenses; Tier-4 (Child) student visa for students aged 4 to 17 and Tier-4 (General) student visa for students aged 16 and above.

The types of student visas, and their specifics are detailed in the table below:

Type of Visa Age Limit Time Period
Short-Term Student Visa 18 and above 6 to 11 months
Tier-4 (Child) Student Visa 4 to 17 years 6 years (+ 4 months extension)
Tier-4 (General) Student Visa 16 and above 3 years (+ 4 months extension)

Application Process

Students must apply for a UK student visa online, on the website of UK Visas and Immigration. When a student applies for a course and is accepted, the course provider may be willing to help the student apply for a UK student visa. Students must make it a point to check with their course provider on the same. One can apply for a student visa as late as three months before the start of their course. However, students should check the average visa processing time in their country and go ahead with their applications accordingly.

Documents Required for UK Student Visa Application

UK student visas are awarded based on a points system. Students will require the following documents to meet the student visa requirements:

  • Passport details
  • Recent passport size photograph
  • An offer letter from an institution with a Tier-4 License, serving as evidence in the form of a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) form (worth 30 points), from the course provider
  • Proof of proficiency in the English language, with a satisfactory score in the Secure English Language Test (SELT).
  • Proof of financial stability for the duration of the stay (worth 10 points)
  • Non-EU/EEA/Swiss students studying a sensitive subject may need an ATAS certificate


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