Anglophilia: UK university fees | Varsity Education

Anglophilia: UK university fees

The last few weeks have seen us examine what makes a UK university education different, and more attractive to the rest of the world. So different in fact that Google searches place 9 UK university related terms in the top 20 results by US students wishing to study abroad.

Previously we have examined UK university admissions policies and the history of British universities. This week we examine UK university fees and how they can vary immensely from other countries.

High Prices versus Higher Prices

Over the past few years UK students have seen their fees rise sharply, but not enough to deter most students from still applying. As an international student, you can expect to pay more. However, compared to Ivy League schools per year, this cost is still lower.

Costs, naturally, depend on the nature of the degree and whether the undergraduate would study at a private or public US college. A classroom-based degree is lower than a laboratory-based one, which is again lower than a clinical-based degree. For example, a classroom degree could cost a US student studying at an Ivy League college in their home country $46,113. The same student studying in the UK would expect to pay only $22,000. There is one final matter that should be taken into consideration. UK undergraduate degrees take on average three years to complete, rather than the four years expected in the US. The US student we used as an example would pay $184,452 in total for their degree. In the UK they would pay just $66,000. Next week’s blog will cover this in more detail.


Additional Costs: Visas

Most European Union (EU) students do not require a visa to study in the UK, but international students do and this needs to be factored into your budget. The cost depends on country of origin and the course the student wishes to study. For example, the US student we’ve been using as an example would need to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa which costs $478. Dependent on country, undergraduates may need to provide proof they can afford both course fees and the cost of living in the UK.


The Cost of Living

The cost of living in the UK may at first seem expensive, with initial expenses like accommodation and travel being higher than other European cities. However, comparing this to the US dwarfs the costs and with student discounts, freecycling, savvy grocery skills and advanced booking deals other expenses can be cut drastically. We recommend buying a UK cellphone upon arrival as these normally come with prepaid plans and internet data allowances which will save a considerable amount of cash. All incoming calls are paid for by the caller. Fulltime students are also covered by the National Health Service so medical insurance is unnecessary.

International scholarships

While many non-EU students can receive financial support from their home countries, UK scholarships for international students are limited, be they from the UK government, industrial sponsors or the individual universities themselves.  The vast majority are for post-graduate study, although a few schemes exist for low-income undergraduates in what are considered exceptional circumstances. American students wishing to study in the UK can apply for federal loans and most US scholarship programs can offer financial assistance in both maintenance loans and maintenance grants. ‘Young Americans of High Ability’ can apply for Marshall Scholarships for example.

Each university has their own scholarship schemes so it is worth researching these options thoroughly. For example, Oxford University offers scholarships for most countries including Russia (Hill Foundation Scholarship), Australia (Oxford-Australia Scholarship), Pakistan (Vicky Noon Educational Foundation) and former Soviet states (Palgrave Brown). A list of scholarships broken down by country can be found here. Similarly, Cambridge University’s Trust offers, amongst others, scholarships for Canadians (Blyth Cambridge Support) and students from Hong Kong (Prince Philip Scholarship). Details here.