How much does university cost?

university with money bags

Don’t get dazzled by big numbers! Tuition fees and living expenses run into £1,000s, but most of it is covered by Student Finance and isn’t the same as how much you actually pay.

Tuition fees in the UK

Here’s the maximum that public universities can charge in undergraduate tuition fees, depending on where you live when you apply:

Students from

Studying in England

Studying in Scotland

Studying in Wales

Studying in N Ireland

England

£9,250

£9,250

£9,000

£9,250

Scotland

£9,250

Free

£9,000

£9,250

Wales

£9,250

£9,250

£9,000

£9,250

Northern Ireland

£9,250

£9,250

£9,000

£4,395

EU countries

£9,250

Free

£9,000

£4,395

Remember that this is the most they can charge – individual courses may vary. Fees are also likely to be very different for non-EU international students, as there’s no official maximum figure. Either way, check the university’s website or prospectus for details or see the UCAS course catalogue.

Thinking about a year abroad? You might pay different fees while you’re away – we’ve got the lowdown on that here.

What do tuition fees pay for?

Tuition fees pay for a lot more than just teaching. They also help cover buildings, services, staff, and hardship funds for struggling students.

While you don’t get any say in how much universities charge, it’s still worth checking they spend fees in the ways that most benefit you. That could be through more teaching time, a well-stocked library, cutting-edge facilities, career mentoring, or anything else that helps you get a degree or a job after graduating.

Is it worth shopping around for cheaper fees?

As most universities charge the maximum for their country, most students won’t see much difference unless studying in Scotland or Northern Ireland is an option.

And, if you’re from Scotland, NI or Wales and want to study in England, remember that Student Finance will stretch to help accommodate the higher course fees and living costs (don’t worry – borrowing more won’t affect how much you repay).

It’s definitely in your interest to compare fees if you’re not eligible for Student Finance and/or are paying your own way – international students have the most to gain from this.

For most students, comparing local costs like rent, food and transport is the best way to see what’s affordable for you: here’s how much students spend at each UK university.

Course costs

At up to £9,250 a pop, you’d think tuition fees would see you fully paid up but, unfortunately, they don’t. You’ll have to confirm extra course costs for yourself with the uni, but generally, you’re looking at things like books, stationery, lab kit or art materials, field trips, printing and photocopying.

Allow for these when making your budget to avoid nasty surprises later on.

How much does uni cost you per hour? Find out with our calculator.

Living costs

Living costs can be a huge pain in the pocket: we’re talking rented accommodation, energy bills, transport, socialising, laundry and food shops.

Some of these expenses can be covered by the Maintenance Loan or any bursaries and grants you’re entitled to. Chances are, though, that you’ll also need back-up from savings, your parents or a part-time job.