A guest blog article from our partner TorFX who specialise in currency transfer.
As one of the most popular study destinations in the world, thousands of students move to the UK each year to start their undergraduate degrees.
The UK is home to over 160 higher education institutions, including some of the most prestigious, competitive and well-known universities in the world. It offers great choice to both British and international students alike.
The benefits of UK higher education are numerous; unrivalled student experience, globally-recognised education, excellent career prospects, and more but studying in the UK can be costly and families need to plan and budget effectively.
There are three main areas of costs that families need to consider when planning for university in the UK; tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses.
UK bachelors degrees are usually 3 years in duration for most subjects although some degrees may be longer such as Engineering, Architecture, Veterinary Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Scottish bachelors are typically 4 years. Before starting to budget for the cost of tuition fees, you need to check the duration of the course you are interested in.
Tuition fees in the UK vary depending on whether you’re a home or an international student.
Home students pay tuition fees of between £1,820 and £9,250 a year, depending on which UK country you study in. Most students can apply for a government-provided tuition fee loan that covers the cost of this and is paid directly to your university.
For international students, undergraduate degrees begin at around £10,000 per year and can go as high as £61,000 per year, depending on the course you’re applying to. Tuition fees also vary depending on the university you’re considering – more competitive institutions tend to charge higher fees. Some universities also charge international students additional college fees of around £10,000 per year. It’s best to check the fees for any course you’re thinking of applying to for the year that you are applying, as fees tend to go up each year by around 5-10%.
International students aren’t eligible for the tuition fee loan. You may be able to secure a scholarship, grant or bursary, although these can be highly competitive. It’s worth contacting the universities you’re interest in to see if they offer any funding.
Accommodation and Living Expenses
According to Unipol, rented student accommodation was about £166 per week on average in 2021-22, while private accommodation cost £155 per week for an en-suite room in a house-share and £228 for a studio flat.
Of course, this varies hugely across the country. Rural and northern towns tend to be cheaper, while cities and popular tourist destinations are far pricier. In London, costs were significantly higher. University accommodation averaged at £212 per week and private rooms averaged at £259.
Living expenses, meanwhile, sit around £389 per month. This includes everything from groceries and gift-giving to health expenses and household bills. Students with family abroad will likely have higher travel costs too, so that’s something to factor in.
Overall, students can pay between £600 and £1,100 a month on accommodation and living expenses. Online student calculators are a great tool for adding up the cost of living and comparing costs in different parts of the country to be able to budget more efficiently.
Once again, home students are eligible for a government maintenance loan to go towards their cost of living. The amount is based on your household income and in 2022-23 ranges from £3,597 to a maximum of £12,667 (for someone studying away from home in London) per year.
Maintenance loans rarely cover the total cost of living. Instead, students will likely need financial support or to work while they study.
As with the tuition loan, international students are not eligible for government maintenance loans. Instead, they’ll need to secure their own funding or apply for a scholarship.
How TorFX Can Help
While TorFX can’t shrink the price that universities charge for a degree, we can minimise extra costs associated with currency exchange.
If you’re transferring an international currency into Pounds to pay for tuition, accommodation and living costs, you are likely to be charged for the transaction. You are also vulnerable to fluctuating exchange rates, as US banks, for example, request that your payment be made before providing you with a rate.
Currency exchange providers, on the other hand, specialise in conducting international money transfers – and can often offer a more competitive exchange rate. At TorFX, an account manager will explain the current rates available and can offer a variety of tailored products to help get the most from your transfer.
Tools we offer include spot contracts, forward contracts and market orders. Respectively, these allow you to transfer money immediately at the current exchange rate, fix a favourable exchange rate up to two years ahead of a transfer, or target the rate you’d like to achieve so that if and when that rate is achieved, the transfer will take place.
We also offer stop loss orders. With these you can set your minimum exchange rate and if the market moves to this level, your transaction will go ahead, protecting you from further losses.
Whatever the cost of a UK university education amounts to, don’t be tricked into paying more than you need to. Contact TorFX today by filling out our form for an online quote.