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1 December 2023

9 minutes read

Navigating the Cost of Study in the UK for Indian Students in 2023

The United Kingdom has long been a coveted destination for Indian students seeking quality education. However, the cost of study in the UK for Indian students is a critical factor that needs thorough understanding and planning.

This blog aims to provide a detailed overview of the expenses involved and how to manage them effectively.

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Tuition Fees: A Major Component of the Cost of Study in the UK

One of the significant expenses for Indian students studying in the UK is the tuition fee. The cost varies widely among universities and courses.

For instance, top UK universities like the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and Imperial College London are known for their higher fee structures compared to other institutions.

On average, tuition fees in the UK for international students, including Indians, can range from £10,000 to £38,000 per year, depending on the study level and course of choice.

Breakdown of Tuition Fees Across Different Study Levels

The cost of tuition varies not only between universities but also across different study levels. For undergraduate courses, the fees can range from £10,000 to £20,000 annually, while for postgraduate courses, they can go up to £38,000 or more, especially for MBA or medical-related courses.

This variation is also seen across different fields of study, with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and medical courses generally having higher fees than humanities or social sciences.

Comparison with Other Popular Study Destinations

When compared to other popular study destinations like the USA, Canada, or Australia, the UK’s tuition fees are competitive.

For instance, the average cost of an undergraduate course in the USA can exceed £30,000 annually, making the UK a relatively more affordable option.

However, the overall cost can still be high for many Indian families, necessitating the exploration of financial aid and scholarships.

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Living Expenses: Understanding the Cost of Living in the UK

Living expenses form another major part of the cost of studying in the UK for Indian students. These expenses include accommodation, food, transportation, and other daily costs.

The average cost of living in major UK cities varies, but students can expect to spend around £12,000 to £15,000 per year. It’s important to note that living in London can be more expensive than in other parts of the UK.

Accommodation: Types and Costs

Accommodation is one of the largest components of living expenses. Students have several options, including university halls of residence, private student halls, and private rentals.

The cost can vary from £400 to £800 per month, with London at the higher end of the scale. University accommodation is often cheaper and more convenient, especially for first-year students, but spaces are limited.

Daily Living Costs and Budgeting Tips

Apart from accommodation, daily living costs such as food, transportation, and entertainment can add up. On average, students may spend £30-£50 per week on groceries.

Transportation costs vary depending on the location, with monthly public transport passes ranging from £30 to £150. To manage these expenses, students can take advantage of student discounts, budget their spending, and prefer cooking at home over eating out.

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Scholarships and Financial Aid: Reducing the Cost of Study in the UK

To manage the cost of studying, many UK universities offer scholarships and financial aid options for international students, including those from India. These scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden and are often merit-based or need-based.

Types of Scholarships Available for Indian Students

Studying in the UK is a significant financial commitment for Indian students. However, a range of scholarships are available to help mitigate these costs.

Here’s a look at some of the types of scholarships that Indian students can avail themselves of while planning to study in the UK:

  1. Government-Funded Scholarships:
    • Chevening Scholarships: Funded by the UK Government, Chevening offers a prestigious award that covers tuition fees, a living allowance, and return flights to the UK.
    • Commonwealth Scholarships: Designed for students from Commonwealth countries, including India, these scholarships are aimed at those who would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the UK.
  2. University-Specific Scholarships:
    • Many UK universities offer scholarships specifically for Indian students. These can range from partial fee waivers to full scholarships covering tuition and living expenses. Examples include the Oxford and Cambridge Society of India (OCSI) Scholarships, the Imperial College India Foundation Postgraduate Scholarships, and the University of Westminster International Scholarships.
  3. Specialized Scholarships:
    • Certain scholarships are available for specific fields of study or research. For instance, the Felix Scholarship is available for Indian students pursuing postgraduate study at selected UK universities, focusing on underprivileged backgrounds.
  4. Private and Charitable Organization Scholarships:
    • There are several scholarships funded by private entities and charities. The Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation scholarships, for example, support Indian students in various fields, excluding engineering, computer science, business studies, medicine, public health, fashion design, music, and film animation.
  5. Merit-Based Scholarships:
    • These are awarded based on a student’s academic excellence, extracurricular achievements, or other specific talents. Universities like the University of Bristol and the University of Manchester offer merit-based scholarships to international students, including those from India.
  6. Need-Based Scholarships:
    • Some scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need. These include the Sussex India Scholarships and the Edinburgh Napier University scholarships for Indian students requiring financial support.
  7. Partial Funding Scholarships:
    • Partial scholarships, which cover a part of the tuition fee, are quite common. These can significantly reduce the financial burden, though students will need to find additional funding sources for the remaining costs.
  8. Research Scholarships:
    • For PhD students, there are several research scholarships such as the Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarships at the University of Arts London and the Warwick Chancellor’s International Scholarships.
  9. Industry-Sponsored Scholarships:
    • Some scholarships are sponsored by companies or industries aimed at students pursuing courses in specific fields. For example, the GREAT Scholarships, in collaboration with the British Council and the UK government, are offered in various subjects and universities.

These scholarships play a crucial role in making UK education accessible and affordable for Indian students.

It’s important for prospective students to research well, meet the eligibility criteria, and adhere to the application deadlines when applying for these opportunities.

How to Apply for Scholarships and Financial Aid

Applying for scholarships and financial aid can seem daunting, but with careful planning and organization, Indian students can increase their chances of receiving financial support for their studies in the UK. Here are some key steps to follow:

1. Start Early:

  • Begin your search for scholarships and financial aid at least 6-12 months before your intended start date. This gives you ample time to gather information, prepare your application, and meet any deadlines.

2. Research Thoroughly:

  • Look for scholarships offered by UK universities, the British government, private organizations, and Indian government scholarships for studying abroad.
  • Check the eligibility criteria for each scholarship to ensure you qualify.

3. Understand the Requirements:

  • Carefully read the application requirements for each scholarship. This may include academic qualifications, financial need, essays, or specific areas of study.

4. Prepare a Strong Application:

  • Personal Statement: Write a compelling personal statement that highlights your academic achievements, career goals, and why you deserve the scholarship.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Obtain strong letters of recommendation from teachers or employers who can vouch for your abilities and character.
  • Academic Transcripts: Keep your academic transcripts and certificates ready, as most scholarships require proof of your academic performance.

5. Tailor Your Application:

  • Customize your application to suit the specific scholarship. Highlight aspects of your background or experiences that align with the scholarship’s goals or values.

6. Meet the Deadlines:

  • Make a note of the application deadlines and ensure you submit all required documents on time. Late applications are usually not considered.

7. Apply for Multiple Scholarships:

  • Don’t limit yourself to applying for just one scholarship. Apply for as many as you are eligible for to increase your chances of receiving financial aid.

8. Prepare for Interviews:

  • Some scholarships may require an interview as part of the selection process. Prepare for this by practicing your responses to potential questions about your academic and career goals.

9. Stay Organized:

  • Keep a file or spreadsheet with details of each scholarship you have applied for, including requirements, deadlines, and the status of your application.

10. Explore University-Specific Aid:

  • Check if the universities you are applying to offer any financial aid for international students and understand their application process.

11. Look for External Funding Sources:

  • In addition to scholarships, look for other funding sources like educational loans, grants, and bursaries.

12. Follow Up:

  • If you haven’t heard back by the decision date, it’s acceptable to follow up with the scholarship committee to inquire about the status of your application.

Applying for scholarships and financial aid requires diligence, persistence, and attention to detail. By following these steps, Indian students can enhance their prospects of securing the financial support they need to study in the UK.


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Working While Studying: A Way to Offset Living Expenses

International students in the UK, including those from India, are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations. This opportunity can help manage the living expenses while gaining valuable work experience.

Part-Time Job Opportunities and Regulations

Part-time work while studying is a popular option for Indian students in the UK, not only to help with living expenses but also to gain work experience in a global setting. Here’s an expanded look at the opportunities and regulations surrounding part-time work for Indian students in the UK:

1. Types of Part-Time Jobs Available:

  • On-Campus Jobs: Many universities offer part-time jobs on campus, such as library assistants, IT support staff or administrative roles. These jobs are convenient as they are located within the university and usually have flexible hours to accommodate student schedules.
  • Retail: Jobs in supermarkets, clothing stores, and other retail outlets are common among students. Roles can include stock replenishing, cashier work, and customer service.
  • Hospitality and Catering: Working in cafes, restaurants, bars, and hotels is popular. These roles can range from kitchen staff and servers to front-of-house positions.
  • Tutoring: If you excel in a particular subject, tutoring can be a lucrative option. This can be done independently or through a tutoring agency.
  • Internships and Placements: Some courses include placements or offer internship opportunities, which are not only part-time jobs but also valuable experiences relevant to your field of study.

2. Legal Regulations and Visa Requirements:

  • Work Hours Limitation: As an Indian student on a Tier 4 (General) student visa, you are typically allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during holidays.
  • Type of Work: The visa also stipulates certain restrictions on the type of work you can do. For instance, you cannot be self-employed, work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach, or entertain as a professional artist.
  • National Insurance Number: To work in the UK, you need a National Insurance Number (NI). This is a unique number for managing your tax contributions.

3. Finding Part-Time Work:

  • University Job Boards: Most universities have job boards and career centers that advertise part-time job vacancies suitable for students.
  • Online Job Portals: Websites like Indeed, Monster, and StudentJob UK are useful for finding part-time work.
  • Local Newspapers and Community Boards: Often, local businesses advertise part-time positions through these channels.

4. Balancing Work and Study:

  • It’s crucial to maintain a balance between work and academic responsibilities. Prioritize your coursework and ensure that your job does not negatively impact your studies.
  • Time management skills are essential. Create a schedule that allows you to dedicate sufficient time to both work and study.

5. Financial and Social Benefits:

  • Apart from financial benefits, part-time work helps in building a network, improving language and communication skills, and gaining an understanding of the local work culture.
  • Earnings from part-time jobs can help cover daily expenses and reduce the financial burden on your family back home.

6. Post-Study Work Opportunities:

  • The experience gained through part-time work can be beneficial when applying for jobs after completing your studies, especially with the post-study work visa options available in the UK.

Working part-time while studying in the UK can be a rewarding experience, offering not just financial relief but also valuable work experience and skills development.

However, it’s important to be aware of and adhere to all the legal regulations pertaining to your student visa to ensure a smooth educational journey in the UK.

Balancing Work and Study

While working part-time can be financially beneficial, balancing work and study demands good time management skills. Students should prioritize their academic responsibilities and choose jobs that offer flexible hours.

Working on campus can be a good option as it often provides a better balance between work and study.

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Additional Costs: Visa, Health Insurance, and Travel

Studying in the UK involves additional costs such as the student visa application fee, health insurance, and travel expenses. The visa application fee for a Tier 4 student visa is currently around £348, and students also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of the application process.

Health Insurance and Healthcare Services in the UK

Health insurance is mandatory for international students in the UK. The healthcare surcharge, part of the visa application, grants access to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, which covers most healthcare services. However, students may also opt for additional private health insurance for extra coverage.

Travel Expenses and Budgeting for Flights

Travel expenses, including flights to and from the UK, should also be budgeted. The cost of flights varies depending on the time of year and booking period.

It’s advisable to book in advance and look for student discounts or special deals to reduce costs. Additionally, students should budget for internal travel within the UK, especially if their university is far from the airport or if they plan to explore the country.


Despite the high cost, the UK remains a valuable study destination for Indian students. With proper planning, exploring scholarships, and part-time work opportunities, students can make their dream of studying in the UK a reality.

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What is the average tuition fee for Indian students in the UK?

The average tuition fee ranges from £10,000 to £38,000 per year, depending on the course and university.

How much does living in the UK cost for an Indian student?

Living expenses can range from £12,000 to £15,000 per year, varying based on the city and lifestyle.

Are there scholarships available for Indian students in the UK?

Yes, many UK universities offer scholarships for international students, including those from India.

Can Indian students work in the UK while studying?

Yes, they can work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations.

Is studying in the UK more expensive than in other countries?

The cost can be higher compared to some countries, but the UK offers world-class education and diverse cultural experiences, making it a valued destination for higher education.

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