Cheapest Cities in the UK for International Students (2023): The United Kingdom is reputed for its world-class academic education that attracts international students from across the world. Before going abroad for studies or choosing a school in the UK, one of the most important decisions you have to make is choosing the area where you would stay in, and calculating your living cost in your list of expenses. This cost is as important as the cost you make for tuition fees. Whereas London is a desirable destination for having some of the best universities, you will still find many places in the UK that are pocket friendly with excellent education and great lifestyle. In this post, you will learn about the cheapest cities in the UK for students.
The cost of studying in the UK is not just about the tuition fee and/or accommodation fee. Whether or not you have a dormitory, you still get to be conscious about the city you are going to live in. Consider the affordability of the city as it will greatly affect the quality of life you are going to get there.
Taxi fares, grocery pricings, affordable restaurants and bars, and general shopping are some of the things that will add to your cost of study in the UK, in addition to your tuition and accommodation fees. These costs are different for different parts of the UK and we have painstakingly put down 10 cheapest cities in the UK you should consider to live in for international students.
Benefits of Studying in the Cheapest Cities in UK
Students from across the world have long been stepping to study in the United Kingdom. The country is known for its world-class academics, diversity and bustling & affordable student cities, making it one of the great places for higher education. Several cheap cities in the UK provide affordable accommodation with low costs. Four of the benefits of studying in cheapest cities in UK for international students 2023 are:
- The United Kingdom is home to some of the best universities in the world like the University of Oxford, University College London, etc.
- You will get an excellent opportunity to earn while they are pursuing their studies in the UK.
- There are numerous scholarships and financial aid to students who have excellent academic performance.
- Graduates from top UK universities and institutes are most sought-after by many prospective employers and reputable companies around the world.
13 Cheapest Cities in the UK for students
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The city of Manchester is ranked one of the cheapest cities in the UK for student not just for its low cost of living, but also for the much lower tuition fees for some of its highly ranked universities. You’ll find plenty conveniences, affordable accommodation, and transportation. What’s more? The city of is reputed for its industrial heritage and is home to two of the heavyweights in Premier League football- Manchester United and Manchester City. If you are a football lover, you’ll definitely have to consider here.
Whether you are looking for high-end areas or affordable ones, Manchester offers something for everyone. As in most European cities, rent prices in Manchester depend on the location and neighborhoods and ranges between £75 to £90. The average transportation fare is around £70 per month. The cost of living is estimated to be approximately US$1,137 per month, according to the University of Manchester’s official website.
Top institutions in the city of Manchester
- University of Manchester
- Manchester College
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- Victoria University
- Loreto College
Glasgow is one of the cheapest places to live for students when you compare it to London and other big cities. It is located in the western Lowlands of Scotland and is renowned for its classical art and wealthy heritage. It is houses the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland.
In addition, Scotland has two world renowned universities, notably the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde. The city has affordable accommodation options and fairly cheap public transport, making it great for students on a budget. Furthermore, the cost of eating or drinking out is considerably low compared to other famous cities in the UK.
Top Institutions in Glasgow
- University of Glasgow
- University of Strathclyde
Next on our list of the cheapest cities in the UK for students is Birmingham, a city renowned for world-class universities such as The University of Birmingham and Aston University. These institutions have relatively lower tuition fee for international student, and a relatively low cost of living compared with other cities.
While takeout is more expensive in Birmingham than in other UK cities, the city has a great public transport system and reasonable accommodation costs. According to Numbeo, the cost of living index in Birmingham is almost 22 percent lower than in London.
Top Institutions in Birmingham
- The University of Birmingham
- Aston University
Leicester is highly valued for its cheaper transport. On average, transport costs around £58. As for the rent, the monthly rent whirls around £650, which can be considered reasonable relative with other cities. Everyday living expenses such as grocery shopping or other essential living costs are also considered cheap in Leicester.
Durham is one of the popular cites in the UK and adorned with the beautiful campus of Durham. It is similar to other cheap cities on the list and hosts a vast number of international students. Transportation fares are and accommodation rents are also very cheap.
Belfast, the capital of northern Ireland, is one of the cheapest places to live for students. This place is popular in student community for its lower costing of living and amazing taxi fares. Housing and food costs could be on the higher spectrum for students in this area. The average monthly cost of living in Belfast for students ranges between £1,167 to £1,287.
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Top Institutions in Belfast
- Queen’s University Belfast.
Historically, the city of Nottingham houses the Nottingham Castle Museum and the Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery. Nottingham is home to two world-class universities, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University that offer lower tuition than other institutions and this makes it a destination of choice for students because of its high-quality yet affordable accommodations and elaborate transport system. Tuition fees for undergraduate students average just US$18,900 per year across both ranked universities, which is cheaper than most other universities in other cities in the UK.
The average cost of living in Nottingham ranges from £1,339 to £1,443, depending on your lifestyle and how you budget. While living costs are cheaper in Nottingham than in London, there are various factors that add to the entire cost apart from your tuition and study expenditures.
According to the Telegraph, the University of Nottingham is the second-cheapest institution for studying in the UK. It has an average total weekly spend of approximately US$235 (about US$940 monthly). It is interesting to note that the price of living in Nottingham varies depending on the proximity to the city center and other factors that impact the accommodation rent.
Sheffield is one of the cheapest cities in the UK for international students to live in. Aside from the inexpensive living expenses, Sheffield is also home to some of the most affordable education and leisure experience to students. Transport is also cheap in Sheffield, with a monthly ticket of around £65. University study materials are also affordable at around £45 ($55) monthly.
The estimated cost of living in Sheffield for students averages around £1,412. This amount does not include tuition fees and is subject to increase or decrease depending on the student’s lifestyle.
Top Institutions in Sheffield
- The University of Sheffield
- The Sheffield College
- Sheffield Hallam University
Coventry is a city in central England and offers students vast opportunities for part-time jobs. Although the cost of living has increased in recent years, Coventry still remains of the cheapest cities in the UK for students to live in and hosts some of the most affordable universities in the UK.
With just £550 per month, you can rent an apartment. As is the case with most student accommodations, rent at Coventry includes heating, gas and electricity, water, a high-speed internet connection, basic cleaning, and basic contents insurance. What’s more? Transportation in Coventry is also considerably cheaper than in other cities, with around £50 ($61) every month.
Located in the West Midlands in England, Coventry is a charming medieval city that was once a part of Warwickshire. It’s the second largest city in its region (after Birmingham), the ninth largest in England and the 12th largest in the UK.
Top Institutions in Coventry
- Coventry University
- Coventry College
- CU Coventry
Wolverhampton is known to have lower than the average cost of living regarding student accommodation rent, including private housing, with an average of £560 monthly rent. Similar to Sheffield, tuition fees in Wolverhampton universities are also some of the lowest in the UK. The transportation costs, however, are more expensive than usual, with a monthly fare of £150.
Having a fair idea of your monthly expenditures is essential when creating a budget limit. The average monthly cost of living in Wolverhampton for students ranges between £1,047 to £1,095. Wolverhampton is also home to some of the best universities in the UK, with affordable tuition fees of around £12,950 ($15,944).
Wolverhampton has lower than average living expenses. Student housing options are extremely affordable and the cheapest in the UK. The city also houses some of the best universities that offer affordable education.
Top Institutions in Wolverhampton
- University of Wolverhampton
- Telford College
- Harper Adams University
Aberdeen is located in the northeast of Scotland and is nicknamed the “Granite City” because because of its long existing grey-stone buildings. Being home to one of UK’s oldest universities, Aberdeen is ranked as one of the most affordable cities for students. The average cost of living in Aberdeen for students ranges between £971 and £1,283 per month, much cheaper than London. Also, tuition fees at its two world-class universities is also cheaper than most schools in London.
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Warwick is at the heart of London and is ranked as one of the cheapest cities in the UK for students. Cost of house rent and transportation fare are cheaper compared to other cities. The university of Warwick provides vast course options as well.
It is important that you budget carefully during your studies at Warwick. As a minimum, the Home Office asks Student visa applicants to have £1023 per month to cover accommodation and living expenses.
Top Institutions in Warwick
- University of Warwick
Stirling has become Stirling popular among international students because of its affordability and low cost of living. A room at this Scottish city could be as low as 115 euros per week, much cheaper than what you could get at other big cities. Also, Stirling offers one of the cheapest transportation fares in the UK.
The city is full of scenic experiences surrounded with Scottish beauty for your maximum leisure. So, you’ll have no regrets living there.
Top Institutions in Stirling
- University of Stirling
How to Apply
The application process for UK universities for undergraduate courses, postgraduate courses, and PhD is slightly different from universities around the world.
- Admissions for Bachelor’s degree take place through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) and in some cases, through direct applications.
- For this, you need to register and fill your application on the UCAS website
- Most UK universities accept applications verified through UCAS while some universities like the University of Brighton or the University of St Andrews even accept direct applications from students.
- PG and PhD applicants can directly apply to the university.
Read More, to know the challenges international students face in the UK
This list has detailed some of the most affordable UK cities for international students. If you have been afraid of applying for international studies because of high cost, you can look away from London and other expensive cities. These cities on the list have world-class universities that offer you best of learning experiences.