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How Much does it Cost to go to University?

The cost of a degree varies depending on the university. Prices range from £1,820 to £15,950 per year. The vast majority of universities charge £9,250 per year. This, and the cost of living, mean that most students leave university with considerable debt.

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University student holding piggybank and textbooksUniversity is the highest level of education for most individuals. Attaining a degree opens doors to well-paying jobs, which is a desirable outcome. However, valuable things often come with a hefty price tag, and university courses are no exception. The cost of the course, along with the cost of living, often results in students leaving university with substantial debts, despite earning their degrees.

Prior to embarking on your university journey, it is crucial to plan and determine the exact expenses involved. What expenses will you have to cover, and how much will they amount to? Is there any financial assistance available to help ease the burden? This guide is designed to address your questions and assist you in devising a financial plan for your university education.

For comprehensive advice on various aspects of parents managing their children's finances, consider visiting Kids Money.


How Much Do Tuition Fees Cost?

The cost of your studies depends on your place of residence and the university you choose to attend.

Scottish students studying in Scotland benefit from free foundation degrees, while undergraduate degrees cost a standard £1,820 per year. Students from other parts of the UK attending Scottish universities will pay between £6,750 and £9,250 per year, depending on the university.

In Northern Ireland, foundation degrees range from £2,688 to £4,030 per year, and undergraduate degrees cost £1,820 per year for local residents but between £9,000 and £9,250 per year for students from elsewhere in the UK.

In Wales, some universities offer free foundation degrees, while others charge £9,000 per year. Undergraduate degrees in Wales have a standard cost of £9,000 per year.

In England, foundation degrees vary from being free at certain institutions to costing £15,950 per year at the most expensive university. Undergraduate degrees have different price ranges, from £6,009 to £12,444 per year, with the majority of universities charging £9,250 per year.

Before deciding on your university, you may want to compare tuition fees. The Complete University Guide provides a list of prices to help with your decision-making.

What Other Expenses Should You Expect at University?

After covering tuition fees, accommodation represents the next significant cost for university students. Rental costs vary widely from one town to another. In a 2010 survey conducted by the NUS, it was found that London had the highest average room rent at £157 per week, while Northern Ireland had the cheapest rooms, averaging £83 per week. The national average is approximately £120 per week, totalling over £6,000 per year.

When selecting accommodation, consider factors like distance from campus, rental agreement length, room quality, and whether utility bills are included.

Other expenses are often overlooked when calculating the required budget. Here's a list of items you should budget for (though not exhaustive):

  • Utility bills
  • Groceries
  • Wi-Fi
  • Printing costs
  • Travel costs
  • TV license

These additional expenses can add up significantly. You might be able to save money by shopping at more affordable supermarkets, forgoing a TV, or walking to campus. Creating and sticking to a budget is advisable.

The vast majority of universities charge £9,250 per year.

What Financial Assistance is Available for Students?

With the mounting costs, you may wonder how to cover them. Many students work part-time to generate a modest income, but there are also various forms of financial support available, including some that don't require repayment. Let's explore the types of financial support you may qualify for:


Bursaries and Scholarships

Universities offer financial assistance to some of their students in the form of bursaries, scholarships, or other awards. These forms of support are not loans and do not need to be repaid. However, eligibility and the amount of support vary from one university to another. To determine if your university offers any assistance, consult your student support service for guidance on the application process.

Maintenance Loans

Young woman looking shocked at price of groceries

Prior to 2015, students with low incomes were entitled to a grant of £3,387 that did not require repayment. However, these grants have now been replaced by maintenance loans, which must be repaid. The loan amount depends on your place of residence. If you live with your parents, you can receive up to £7,097. If you live away from your parents, you can receive up to £8,430 (if you are outside London) or £11,002 (if you are in London).

Student Loans

Every university student pursuing an undergraduate degree is eligible for a student loan to cover tuition costs. For a three-year course (costing £9,250 per year), this amounts to a total loan of £27,750. The good news is that repayment doesn't start until you earn £21,000 or more per year. However, once your income reaches that level, you'll be required to pay back 9% of your income each year, with interest attached that fluctuates with the inflation rate.

Other Forms of Assistance

In addition to bursaries and loans, there are other financial aid options. If you have a low income, you may be eligible for Income Support. If you have dependents (children or dependent adults), you may qualify for a Childcare Grant, Parents' Learning Allowance, Adult Dependants' Grant, or Child Tax Credit. You can apply for these benefits online or seek advice from your student support service.

Armed with a degree, university graduates have bright futures ahead of them.

In addition to their academic qualifications, those who have attended university gain valuable skills in managing their finances and making the most of their resources.

If you have any further questions about education, our Knowledge Bank is a valuable resource. Our articles are authored by educators and teachers and aim to provide you with comprehensive information. Why not take a look?


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