International Students

UK tuition fees for international students

International Student FinanceKnowing where to study is one of biggest dilemmas international students face when making their decision to study abroad. This article will aim to help you (as a prospective overseas student) in determining whether or not the UK is right for your study needs.

As an international student planning to study in the UK, one of the main concerns is obviously the cost of studying and whether it will be worth it in the long run.

Every year the UK welcomes thousands of new international students to its shores, joining approximately 450,000 other overseas students already studying in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the reason is simply because of the world-renowned tutelage.

International fees overview

If you have been seriously thinking of coming to the UK to study, you may have already started comparing prices to that of other countries.

  • As a whole, the UK generally fares well and setting affordable fees is something that universities understand in trying to attract a good calibre of international student.
  • The UK course fees for international students can (and do) differ on a number of aspects.
  • Usually it is dependent on what university or institution you will be studying at, and each university will set different fees calculated on what band you fit in to.
  • It can also depend on what course you are studying, in addition to how long your course is.
  • For some students, you may be entitled to some help to cover the costs of tuition fees from your home country, so this can also be a deciding factor in determining the final cost.

As you can see, it would be extremely difficult to calculate exact costs, but what we can do is to work on the average range to give you a snapshot of what you can expect. For a more comprehensive understanding of what you are expected to pay, you should contact the individual universities or institutions that you are thinking of applying to.

It should be noted that this article is aimed at the international student (i.e. outside the EU). For EU students looking to study in the UK, you should take a look at the EU student Tuition Fee article. 

Types of institutions and courses

International Undergraduates

International StudentMost undergraduate courses run for 3 years; some can run for longer when taking into account sandwich years if your course offers this. Scottish undergraduate courses typically take 4 years to finish.

The average range for international student fees calculated below is accurate for the 2013-14 academic year. Fees are subject to change and this article does not state an exact cost of what you will actually pay:

Undergraduate fees per year:

  • Foundation degrees – £6,000 – £15,000
  • Humanities and art degrees – £8,000 – £17,000
  • Scientific degrees – £9,500 – £24,000
  • Clinical / Medical degrees – £11,000 – £28,000

International Postgraduates

If you decide to stay on in academia after completion of your undergraduate degree, you can expect to pay higher fees, especially for Masters or PhD’s, which are popular and well-sought after postgraduate courses.

At this stage there may also be certain additional costs that you need to aware of, usually for specific research necessities, or niche, specialised resources. You should check if there any of these undeclared costs with your individual institutions.

Postgraduate fees per year:

  • Humanities and arts programmes – £9,000 – £14,000
  • Scientific programmes – £10,000 – £29,000
  • Clinical programmes – £12,000 – £37,000
  • Masters – £9,500 – £52,000

Further Education

For further education (the level of study just before university in the UK), prices vary dependent on whether you will be studying in a private or state-funded institution.

Further Education fees per year:

  • Advanced Subsidiary and A-Levels – £3,500 – £19,000
  • International Baccalaureate Diplomas – £3,500 – £19,000
  • BTECs and career-focused courses – £3,500 – £8,000
  • Higher National Diplomas / Certificates – £4,000 – £12,000

Language Programmes

Like postgraduate fees, English language programmes differ significantly in their price. Prices can start from as low as £100 and can rise to as much as £3000 or more dependent on where you study, and if there are any added incentives attached to your language programme.

Of course, there is no shortage of language programmes out there, some more generic than others, with the best ones being more targeted and catered to a specific group.

If you are thinking of studying an English language programme in the UK, you need to check whether your course is accredited (i.e. it is a recognised qualification) or non-accredited (i.e. it is not a recognised qualification). This is where you will notice the difference in prices, with accredited programmes being on the higher end of the fee scale.

Private and Independent Institutions

If you are looking to attend an independent institution that is not funded by the state, then once again, fees vary with each institution. You are advised to compile a list of which private institutions you are interested in, and then compare exactly what you will be getting for your money.

Some private establishments may only cover course fees; others will include food, housing and living expenses, and some may include activities outside of your studies.

Maintenance living cost for International Students

Some UK universities and institutions recognise and administer loans from other countries. However, once again, this all depends on where you will be studying.

You are advised to check with your home country’s’ educational body to see if you are eligible to apply for a loan to study in the UK.

USAAs an example, students from the United States of America can apply for the William D Ford Federal Direct Loan Programme, which is approved by the US Department of Education.

As another example, Canadian students may be eligible to apply for the Canada Student Loan Programme, subject to meeting certain criteria.

Please remember, that not all universities and institutions will offer these, but some universities will have special arrangements with international government educational authorities.

You should check what is available to you by contacting your chosen institution during your research phase.

We understand that choosing to study in any new country is a massive decision for both the student, and their families. We also understand that the cost of fees can vary dramatically due to a number of factors.

This article is aimed to provide a snapshot of what you can expect to pay if you decide to study in the UK. Hopefully it can aid you in making an informed decision.

If you are looking for more information, then make contact with the universities and institutions you are interested in attending.

As an international student there is a lot of help out there for you and this is just the start! Good luck!

Further resources 

English student finance guide

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