Post-COVID Travel: How Much Do You Need to Study in the UK?

The COVID-19 pandemic may not be over in the UK, but it is opening its borders to tourists and students. In fact, many schools are now doing face-to-face classes.

While the country provides some sense of normalcy to its new arrivals, everyone is still living the new normal. This then begs the question: how much are international students likely to spend these days? Will they be more expensive or cheaper than the pre-COVID days?

1. Tuition

According to a survey about university tuition fees, international students in the UK may pay between £10,000 and £38,000, depending on many factors. These include the school, program, and degree.

Take, for example, the 2021 fees for those who plan to study at the prestigious University of Cambridge. Medical degrees and veterinary science could cost an international student a whopping £58,000—that’s for tuition alone. Courses like political science, philosophy, and archaeology may cost less at £22,000.

They may also need to spend on college fees. The amount should cover the costs of other services and support, such as domestic, pastoral, and educational.

Overall, international students pay way more than local students, whose tuition could be less than £10,000 a year. But are they spending more today than, say, in 2019 and earlier? It’s hard to say.

The data from Statista showed that the value of income of the University of Cambridge from international students increased to over £105 million from £75 million in 2015. This could be because of higher fees, an increase in the number of foreign students, or both.

2. Accommodation


The cost can vary depending on the location of the accommodation and type. The average cost in 2019 was almost £150 weekly for university accommodation. In popular cities like London, it could be more expensive at over £175 a week.

Note, though, that this was just the average. It seems that the prices have gone down, at least for 2021. Today, a cheap accommodation option in London for a student can be worth £110 a week for a long-term stay. This could be defined as staying in the same property for six years or throughout the duration of the study.

These properties are around 4 miles away from nearby universities and offer single or shared rooms. The latter rooms may occupy between two and five people. They can also offer amenities like laundry, CCTV, cleaning, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

But since the country is still in the pandemic, international students need to prepare more money for testing and quarantine, depending on whether they have been vaccinated and where they come from. Unlike in other countries, these students pay for them out of pocket.

3. Food

A study by Save the Student revealed that students in the UK spend an average of £100 a month on food. This makes it their second-biggest expense after rent. It also doesn’t include the budget for socializing or going out, which adds at least £50 monthly.

Nevertheless, as the team expressed, students pay about £23 a week for their food supplies. It is considerably less than the average £40.30 per week of the rest of the population, according to Nimble Fins.

Students can also save more money on food in many ways. For instance, they can shop for ugly produce or goods near their best-before dates since markets sell them at deep discounts. Moreover, they can maximize shared kitchens often found in student housing.

4. Transport

Here’s some good news for international students in the UK: they may save a lot of money on transport. Some places like Lancaster are excellent for biking. The capital, London, ranked the least-friendly because of the risk of injuries, but the statistics have been improving over the years.

Biking is also a great choice for students during this pandemic since it helps encourage social distancing and physical fitness.

The next on the list is the Railcard, which helps people between 16 and 25 save as much as a third of the regular train fare. That’s equal to almost £200 a year—enough to cover two months’ worth of food expenses.

Meanwhile, a one-year Railcard costs only £30. If one buys a card that’s good for three years, they spend only £70.

Buses are also cheap, but they may be less reliable than trains and subways. Taxis are the most expensive transport and are best used when only necessary.

Studying in the UK, especially for international students, won’t be cheap. The pandemic doesn’t make it more affordable since some may need to quarantine.

However, with the quality of education many of the universities offer and the various ways to make living costs affordable, studying here may be worth it.

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