Study in the UK: Timeline for September 2022
Hundreds of thousands of international students apply to study in the UK each year, giving the UK a consistently high ranking in popularity. With such a diverse population and a reputation for high quality and renowned schooling, the UK is a natural location for international students to relocate to. And for students worldwide seeking an English language orientated education, what better place to study than the country that invented the language?
With an excellent higher-education system and an array of world-class universities, the UK promises a rich experience for international students. Our Study UK resource guide is there to help you learn more about what studying in the UK is like as an international student, and includes sections on choosing the UK as your study destination, which place is best for your course, and adapting to life in the UK.
Upon your arrival in the UK…
Our open and inclusive way of living will inspire you, our rich cultural history will ignite your imagination. As our universities are among the most trusted and respected in the entire world…you’ll be able to enjoy your best years by studying here.
UK universities are preparing to welcome students for the start of the fresh academic year in September 2021. UK universities have adapted to the global pandemic, ensuring student safety remains a top priority while continuing to deliver world-class one on one teaching. Each UK university has dedicated staff to support international students at every stepping stone. From the application process, to getting ready to travel, to supporting you on arrival and throughout your study at university.
The UK has become one of the top destinations to study for keen students. With traditions of excellence dating back hundreds of years, high class institutions around the map, and much more leniency than many other countries, the United Kingdom has much to offer international students that others cannot.
But what makes the UK stand out ?
Why should you come to the UK as a destination to further your international studies ?
Degrees and qualifications from UK higher education institutions are world renowned. This standard of excellence is set by some of the older universities with recognizable names, like Oxford, Cambridge and Durham. When applying for work in the future, this adds vigour and richness in your personal CV.
Education Costs are Lower
Because your degree will generally take less time to complete in the UK than in other countries, you could save money in comparison to studying in the US. Although four year programs are increasing in popularity, the majority of degree programs in the UK are around three years, and a masters program is typically one year.
Although international students can manage their affairs so that their UK education is more affordable, UK policymakers are taking note of an alarming trend in the increasing cost of education for non-EU students. With exchange rates climbing, life in the UK can become pretty expensive. In the majority of EU countries, non-EU students are charged higher rates in the UK than students from the EU. One recent study from the Higher Education Policy Institute warned that the UK must act upon this to reduce tuition and costs to stay competitive in the hunt for international students. As global competition for international students starts to heat up, it can be predicted that the UK will act aggressively to keep the country a primary one-stop destination for international students.
An international student in the UK is typically allowed to work up to 20 hours a week during the academic term, and up to full-time when the academic term is over. You should check with your international advisor at your school before starting any work that you are not permitted to be in violation of your visa as the rules change very frequently. Keep in mind it is not always easy to find a job instantly, so relying on work income to fund your entire education will be very tough. Unless you have employment set up through your school before you arrive, you should plan to fund the entire first year of your studies without any of your employment income.
Financing an international education can face some challenges. The best approach includes lots of prep beforehand, careful analysis of your incomings and outgoings as well as hard work in researching and applying for scholarships. There are scholarships and loans available to students who wish to study in the UK.
Gateway to Europe
With the recent addition of the Channel Tunnel and low cost airlines, Europe is easier to access at the last minute. You can travel to Europe from the UK within a few hours by train or a direct flight. If you are studying in London or Manchester and you want a weekend away in Italy, you can fly directly to Rome and come back without much jet lag. The direct flight would take around two hours and costs will vary, depending on the time that you travel and how far in advance the tickets have been paid for.
The UK is known for its multicultural society, with nearly all religions and faiths represented. With a racial, ethnic, and religious variety, the UK is very open to new traditions and cultures, a great thing for students abroad. There are also various places and safe practices accessible for many religions across the UK.
Studying in the UK is actually cheaper than studying at equally ranked universities over in the United States. Given that degree programs are also often shorter than those at home, students are in a position to get the best bang for their buck by pursuing a British education.
Tuition fees for UK undergraduate and graduate degrees range from $17,000 – $25,000 per academic year (this also has a lot to do with the exchange rate at the time of study). On average, students need between $1,300- $1,600 for living expenses per month while studying. Some students decide to remain in the UK over summer holidays and should therefore expect to cover living expenses all year round. Other students choose to return home to the US for summer holidays and they would typically expect to pay living expenses in the UK for 9 months of the year.
Value for money ?
Before purchasing anything, people usually research their options to ensure they are getting their money’s worth with this degree. As you consider the cost of education both in the States and the UK, you begin to weigh the pros and cons of studying in the UK, so don’t forget to factor in value for money. The UK offers one of the best education money can buy. By studying in the United Kingdom, you get the best for a fraction of the price. Not only could you earn a world-class education, international exposure and the opportunity to make friends from around the world in your courses, all in less time to be graduated and for less money than at an American university.
Yes, maybe your community college costs less, but why live with your parents or never venture outside your city ? As a student and for roughly the same price, you could get a degree abroad, explore the world, and study with other students from almost every continent ?
Most American students need to take out student loans to pay for their studies, but we think studying in the UK provides the best options to make your student loan pay you back.
UK tuition fees – UK/EU students
There are two levels of tuition fees at publicly funded UK universities: home student fees (which includes EU students) and international student fees. For home students, institutions in England can charge up to £9,250 (which equates to US$13,050) per year for undergraduate degree programs. In Wales, the maximum fee is £9,000 (equating to US$12,700), while in Northern Ireland the limit is £4,160 (equating to US$5,900) for EU and Northern Irish students, and up to £9,250 for students from the rest of the UK.
In Scotland, an undergraduate degree is technically free for students from Scotland as well as the EU. This is due to a subsidy from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (abbreviation is SAAS). The SAAS also offers a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 (equating to US $7,770) for home postgraduate students.
It should be taken into consideration that the Scottish definition of “home” student differs slightly, in that it doesn’t include students from the rest of the UK like England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Students from the rest of the UK who want to undertake an undergraduate degree in Scotland will have to pay the amount £9,250 a year.
There’s also good news for students from Wales, who only need to pay £3,900 (equating to US $5,500) per year in UK tuition fees to study anywhere within the UK, with the difference paid by the Welsh government.
Postgraduate tuition fees vary significantly, depending on the university and the subject you ought to go into. Home students are able to receive funding from the region’s Student Finance organisations, the university itself, or via a career sponsorship scheme.
(Based on approximate calculation )
UK tuition fees – international students
For international students, undergraduate fees for 2017/18 started at around £10,000 (equating to US$14,130) for lecture-based courses, going up to £38,000 (equating to US$53,700) or more for the highest ranking undergraduate medical degree.
At a postgraduate level, international fees for classroom-based programs in 2017/18 was around £11,000 (equating to US$15,545) and went up to £32,000 (equating to US$45,200). For laboratory/science based programs, annual fees vary from £12,000 (equating to US$16,940) to £27,200 (equating to US$38,400).
(Based on approximate calculation )
UK scholarships and student funding
Home students in the UK and EU are eligible for loans, grants and other forms of funding to cover their tuition fees in the UK. While student loans for home students tend to cover these tuition fees, the additional loan to cover the cost of living in the UK often falls short for a lot of students. In the 2017/18 academic year, the maximum living loan in the UK is £8,430 (equating to $11,900) for students outside London and up to £11,002 (equating to US$15,500) for those in London.
Undergraduate home students at private UK universities (there are three) can still apply for tuition fee loans for most courses, including maintenance loans and maintenance grants. However, the tuition fee loan might not cover the full amount you desire.
A large range of scholarships to study in the UK are also offered by the government, and through individual universities, independent organizations and charities. The Education UK website provides an overview of scholarships available from the British Council and other sources. It is also worth looking into scholarships and support schemes in your own country.
Financial Aid for the UK
The most common questions international students ask revolve around the need for financial aid to support your studies. The questions that arise include things like:
- Where do I look for scholarships?
- Can I find scholarships to study abroad?
- Are loans available?
- What are the expenses ?
These are the kind of questions you should be asking to help you look for financial aid and have a seamless understanding of what funds are required to study in the UK.
Like nearly all other countries around the world, if you wish to study in the UK you will need to show proof of financial support whilst residing here. This is to provide proof to the UK government not to have to pay or support you whilst you are studying in the UK.
So, how much will you need to study in the UK ? This is probably the first main question you will have when it comes to studying in the UK. If you have read our other study advice pages for the UK you will have noticed that the UK, though a small country, is diverse. There are living variations between the south of the UK and London in comparison to the north of the country. The south of the UK, especially London is pricey compared to Birmingham or Manchester.
Trying to calculate how much money you will need to bring with you when you come to the UK, you will firstly need to run a budget analysis.
To give you an estimate on what things cost and what you should expect to pay we have separated this out into three groups; accommodation costs, living expenses and an example of what a few universities in the UK estimate it will cost to attend. Prices can vary depending on what part of the country you are planning to study in so always contact your University as they will give you the most accurate figures for the part of the UK you’re looking for.
There are many options for places to live when you come to the UK, and each of these will differ. If you are planning to come to the UK for University then you will most probably take the ‘Halls of Residence’ option and these normally start from about £50 per week, moving up to around £80 per week for the bigger campuses. Some will have catering facilities such as a canteen, but others will just have a kitchen on your floor so you can cook in the kitchen.
If you opt to not go to the ‘halls of residence’ option, you can always search for your own accommodation and the best way to do this is get a group of six university students that you would like to live with. You can then go house/flat hunting and find the accommodation that suits best. The benefit of doing this is that firstly it’s fun to look for a house together that signifies your new venture and sharing accommodation can be a much cheaper option. Rents can range from anything from £35 per week upwards depending on the standard and area of the accommodation.
If you are coming to the UK for ESL lessons or for another reason you might want to choose the option of a homestay. These are often short term visits and for that reason it is not common to come to the UK for a degree program for each term, and staying at a homestay for the entire time while studying. Homestays generally start from about £100 per week in London and generally are less if you go outside of London. This rate will be inclusive of meals and all accommodation.
We now turn our attention to how to find funding and where to find sources. The majority of international students that are interested in coming to the UK are not able to support themselves so need to look at other options with which to fund their own studies.
The most popular and common places students turn to for funding are;
Not many students have knowledge of this but your home country could be one of the biggest sources of funding your studies. This will be either from the local government or from agencies based in your home country. The best way to look for this is to contact your local government office and see what they recommend for you specifically.
Also, try to think of two or three large companies that are located in your home country and enquire about your desired studies and accommodation queries. One thing to consider, is that funding from your home country may have a requirement that you come back home once you have completed your studies to travel back for work.
UK Universities/ Schools
However, some UK institutions offer limited financial aid for international students. Your best option with this is to contact the school directly to get more information and the requirements of the financial aid that you may be eligible for.
You should request information about financial aid when you request an application form from the university’s admissions office. In some cases, it may be possible for you to participate in a formal exchange between your home institution and the place you wish to study at. You can get more information on such exchanges by contacting the international student offices, this sort of person-for-person exchange that takes place can reduce expenses in some instances.
The biggest source of income for international students still comes from your own family, a recent study by the Institute of International Education (IIE) found that about 65% of all international students were, in fact, funded by their family and relatives. So, ask your parents, ask your uncle and aunt as it is proven that they are the main source of funding for the international students.
Student loans are available for US students studying at colleges and universities in the UK, whether they are here for a short-term basis or throughout the entire degree. Some other countries have student loan programs that are available to citizens of that country that are studying abroad (for instance, India); unfortunately, the flexibility of US student loan programs.
The Study Abroad Loan is for US students that are enrolled in an approved US school and studying in the UK on a study abroad program of around a year. The Foreign Enrolled Loan is for US students studying at least half-time at approved schools in the UK towards a full masters degree or certificate program.