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What are my costs going to be?

Students have two main costs to meet:

  • Tuition fees and other course costs;
  • Living costs (accommodation, food, social life etc.).

Tuition fees

From 2008-2009, universities and colleges in England can charge up to £3,145 a year in fees.

You can apply for a loan of up to the full amount charged. It will be paid direct to the institution by the government. So you don’t have to pay any fees whilst you are studying; the government will pay them on your behalf.

Living costs

(Also see loans and grants and awards)


Most universities and colleges provide halls of residence for first-year students. You will normally be charged each term. The fees usually include the cost of electricity, gas etc. In the second and third years, you may decide to (or have to) move into rented accommodation: usually a shared house or flat.

The rent for this private accommodation will normally be charged on a monthly basis throughout the year including vacations. A deposit of at least one month's rent is usually required by the landlord at the start of the tenancy. There may also be a deposit, which will be returned at the end of the tenancy only if the property is vacated with no repairs required and has been cleaned to the landlord's specification. Electricity and gas bills will normally be charged separately from the rent.

Signing a lease or rental agreement is the same as saying that you have read it and that you understand what you are agreeing to. This is a legal agreement and once you've signed it you will be held to it.

When moving into a house and sharing with others, discuss how bills will be paid. Establish from the start how gas, electricity, telephone etc. will be allocated to each flat-mate. A "kitty" for certain household essentials (bread, milk, tea, coffee, washing-up liquid, toilet rolls etc.) may be useful.

Estimating your own costs may take a little research, but you should soon build up an idea of what your monthly money needs are likely to be.

Try it yourself

Jane has estimated her monthly expenditure (costs) below. She's going to a college in London. Is her lifestyle expensive? Is the total cost per month realistic? Write down what you think the costs should be.

Jane's costs Estimated cost per month
Tuition Fees (annual divided by 12): 100
Accommodation: 395
Food (some included in Accommodation fees): 130
Books & Stationery (English student): 33
Travel (one home trip, and local buses): 45
Social life (concerts, pubs, etc.): 70
Clothes 20
Washing 9
CDs 20
Miscellaneous (phone calls, snacks, etc.) 10
Total 832

Download 'Jane's budget' activity sheet (pdf)

This page was updated on 5 August, 2008

Why not try…

Funding optionsExtra funding optionsStudent bank accountsInsurance

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Planning your expenses, budgeting & student loanStudent Debt

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