The cheapest cities for international students whilst at university in the UK
The UK is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities, with London alone housing 15 institutions in the top 500 in the world. So, it’s no surprise that living in the UK can be costly for international students, especially in the large cities and popular destinations. The minimum cost of living as recommended by UKVI for studying outside London is £1,015 per month, which can be difficult to budget for in itself.
So, we’ve compiled a list of cities we believe are very accommodating for international students and are also relatively cheap. From South Wales, to the North of England and cities just outside of London, there are plenty of places in the UK that are beautiful and affordable to live in.
Cardiff is one of the cheapest UK city for students, followed by Aberdeen and Durham, as the most cost-effective cities for students. According to Cardiff University average rent in the city is £105 a month including bills, or just over 4000 for the academic year, which is quite reasonable. For more information about Cardiff and what the city has to offer, check out this handy article https://www.walesonline.co.uk/special-features/11-things-every-cardiff-student-11922765 .
Glasgow is one of the cheapest cities in the UK, making The University of Strathclyde a good option if you don’t want to break the bank. Average price of accommodation can range from £100-£142 per month. The city also has relatively cheap public transport, with a subway ticket costing £1.50 for a single and a weekly ticket just £14.
Belfast is the 4th most affordable student city in the UK. According to Queen’s University Belfast, the city is cheaper than Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds and Newcastle, while the cost of living is 28% lower than in London. Expect to pay around £90-£107 a week for your student accommodation. Oh, and cinema tickets are apparently £1.55 less than in England and Scotland!
Leicester is located in the midlands and many universities are located in and around the city, including; the University of Leicester, De MontFort University and Loughborough, meaning it’s a vibrant, multicultural hub for students. Weekly rent is very reasonable, and according to De MontFort University Leicester website, expect to pay between £75-£130.
Newcastle is located in the North East of England, just over 1 hour from the border of Scotland. The northern region of England is notoriously cheaper than the South, and Newcastle is no exception, with average rent prices somewhere along the lines of £300 a month. Similar to its Scottish neighbour, Newcastle also has very cheap public transport, with a single metro ticket costing £1.50. The city is home to some great universities, including Northumbria University.
Lancaster is the capital of the county of Lancashire and is located in the Northwest of England, only 40 minutes by car from the famous town of Windermere in the Lake District. With an average rent of around £115 per week, it’s not the cheapest option in this list, but still significantly cheaper than the inflated prices in London.
Like Leicester, Coventry is a city in central England, surrounded by beautiful countryside, as well as multiple university towns and campuses, such as; Coventry University, Arden University, University College Birmingham and the University of Birmingham. Halls of residence accommodation, according to Coventry University, is between £400 – £600 per month, which usually includes bills.
Across the border in Wales, Bangor is a beautiful little town in Northwest Wales, and an excellent choice for low cost living and high quality education at Bangor University. According to Bangor University, accommodation costs vary, but are usually between £50-£90 per week in the private sector (excluding utility bills) and between £70-£120 per week in University accommodation (including utility bills). They suggest that, to live comfortably in the town and study at the university, an international student should expect to pay between £900 and £1100 per month on living expenses.
Just a 10 minute drive from the centre of Stoke-on-Trent, the village of Keele is located in northern Staffordshire, England. With a population of just over 4000, most of whom are students at Keele University down the road, the village predominantly serves students, and therefore the cost of living is relatively low.
More than 80,000 students every year choose Manchester for their studies. With a large proportion of international students making up that number, you’ll be in good company choosing to study in Manchester. Manchester is one of the most popular student cities in the world – for both international students and those in the UK. Compared to the rest of the UK, Manchester has a relatively low cost of living which means your student loan will go that much further. Things like rent, food and transport are all affordable and are much cheaper than in the capital – London.
Bedford is a southern town located in Bedfordshire County, just 1hr 30 mins drive north of the centre of London. Despite still being in the South, prices in Bedford aren’t as expensive as people might think, with the University of Bedfordshire estimating accommodation prices of around £92 per week.