10 Most Affordable Universities in UK for International Students

The second most popular destination for international students, the UK promises a high standard of education, an amazing multi-national culture, and incredible places to see and experience. Anyone who is anyone will find something to do in the UK, whether it be to explore the rocky coastlines of the south west, or experience the inner city hustle and bustle of London. This might explain why more than 600,000 international students were living in the UK in 2022 – and this number is only expected to rise. 

But, as with many incredible places, prices can also be high in certain areas making it harder for students to experience a good quality of life. That’s why it’s important that international students understand which universities offer the most affordable fees. 

Cost Of University In The UK

affordable universities uk

For home students, the cost of university is typically £9250 per year which is capped by the government as the upper limit. For international students, that figure increases. This is to help the university maintain its visa teams and to help the university fund its research. International student fees can be anywhere from £11000 to £60000 per year, with more prestigious universities having a higher price point. For example, if you wanted to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge University in 2023, home students will pay £9250 per year whereas international students will pay a huge £37293. And it’s double this cost for international students to study medicine at Cambridge. Given that international students might be limited in which funding they can access, studying abroad can be a costly business. So, knowing the top 10 affordable universities for international students is helpful. 

Cost Of Living In The UK

The cost of living in the UK can fluctuate based on the political and social climate, which can have a profound impact on rental prices, food costs and energy bills.

Regardless of economic trends, students will have basic costs to consider, and these costs will vary depending on where in the UK you are visiting.

For a single occupancy rental accommodation consisting of one bedroom or a studio layout, you can expect to pay anywhere between £600 and £1000 in the smaller cities, and upwards of £1000 in the more affluent cities. For house shares, you can pay as little as £400 a month or as much as £1500 a month, again, depending on where you choose to stay.

Some of the most affordable places to rent in the UK according to Spare Room, are listed below with their average per month rent cost (based on sharing).

Bradford  £414
Hull £421
Stoke on Trent £423
Carlisle  £426
Preston £428
Sunderland £430
Wolverhampton £433
Liverpool £445


Cost of transport, food and household bills will also need to be factored in. These prices don’t tend to vary too wildly across location, but as a rule of thumb, the more inner city you live, and the more affluent the city, the higher general living costs will be.

And then there’s the university fees for international students to consider. Below are the top 10 affordable universities in the UK.

Top 10 Affordable Universities

Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett University shows their prices clearly on their website, with international students typically paying £14000 per year for an undergraduate course and £16000 per year for a postgraduate. The university is in Leeds, which is a hub of music, culture, arts, food and history. Leeds is also said to be 16% cheaper to live in than London

affordable universities uk

Cost of Living in Leeds: £1,699 per month based on a single person.

University of Bolton

affordable universities uk

International students can expect to pay around £13000 per year to study at the University of Bolton, depending on which course interests you. This is still much cheaper than similar universities. The area of Bolton itself is cheaper than much of the United Kingdom. The University 

Cost of Living in Bolton: £1198 per month based on a single person.

The University of Chester

affordable universities uk

The University of Chester offers undergraduate programmes to international students at the cost of £13450. The university itself offers a wide range of courses and lovely student life, including access to 6 learning sites. Chester itself is vibrant and busy, with many independent shops, quirky bars and great shopping opportunities. 

Cost of Living in Chester: £1621 based on a single person.

affordable universities uk

The University of Cumbria

affordable universities uk

Fancy attending a university in the middle of the stunning Lake District? The University of Cumbria has a wide range of courses offered to international students at the cost of £13575. It also boasts that 95% of its graduates go into employment within 15 months of finishing their course. 

Cost of Living in Cumbria: £1247 per month based on a single person.

The University of Wolverhampton

affordable universities uk

Wolverhampton is an up-and-coming area well worth visiting if you want to explore UK culture. Studying at this diverse and interesting university will cost an international student £13450 per year or £13950 for lab based degrees. 87% of Wolverhampton graduates are in employment within 15 months of finishing their course. 

Cost of Living in Wolverhampton: £1447 per month based on a single person.

Leeds Trinity University

Also situated in vibrant Leeds is Leeds Trinity University, offering courses to international students for just £12,000 per year. Some of their postgraduate courses are also on the cheaper side, with an MA in Creative Writing and an MA in Childhood Education costing just £11,500.

affordable universities uk

Cost of Living in Leeds: £1,699 per month based on a single person.

affordable universities uk

York St John University

affordable universities uk

With a multi million pound arts centre recently developed, York St John’s is a great place for any aspiring artist, writer, musician or actor. It also has a wide range of other courses. It’s situated in the city of York, shrouded in history and culture. The fee for international students is £13000

Cost of Living in York: £1752 per month based on a single person.

The University of London

affordable universities uk

If you want to attend a top-20 university with outstanding records of achievement, situated in the capital city, you should choose the University of London. The fees for international students are approximately £14000 per year depending on the course. You can enjoy a diverse and exciting student life and a range of interesting courses spanning the arts and sciences. The only downside is that the cost of living in east London is slightly higher than some suburban universities. 

Cost of Living in London: £3000 per month based on a single person.

affordable universities uk

The University of East London

affordable universities uk

East London is diverse, thriving, and busy – perfect for anyone who wants a true London experience. The University is also very affordable for international students at just £13,500 per year. There’s a large range of courses and multiple campuses too. 

Cost of Living in London: £3000 per month based on a single person.

The University of South Wales

affordable universities uk

If you would like to experience the Welsh coastline, rolling hills and friendly neighbourhoods, you can do no better than The University of South Wales. A cheap place to live in comparison to big cities, the university also offers low fees to international students at £14,100. 

Cost Of Living in South Wales: £1412 per month based on a single person.

Scholarships and Other Funding

affordable universities uk

We understand that it can be costly as an international student, but there are a few ways to offset these costs, one is to apply for a scholarship, grant or sponsorship. Most universities offer some sort of scholarship for international students. This can either be a fully or partially funded space on a programme, depending on if you meet criteria. It is also good to take note of any additional requirements or fees associated with your particular country of origin. Each university listed above has a dedicated page for international students, and it is well worth reading this in full before submitting an application. 

We Can Help

If you want to study abroad, we can help. We assist prospective students in studying abroad, all over the world, and obtaining the highest level of education while exploring and learning new cultures and customs. We don’t believe education should be limited to home soil, so browse our list of universities and courses here.

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