Budgeting for student life
In most cases, as part of your Student visa application you will have needed to demonstrate that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees for the first year of your course, plus have £1,023 per month for your living costs. This is capped at 9 months so regardless of the length of your course, you only need to show 9 x £1,023 = £9,207 to meet the financial requirements for the application. (Please see our guidance on making a Student visa application for more details of this.) If you are bringing dependants with you they will also have had to meet the financial requirements for their visa applications.
However, it is important not to confuse this with the real cost of living in the UK, which is high and getting higher. In reality you will need to budget to have at least £1,023 per month for each month of your course.
We strongly recommend you make a budget to help you plan your finances. You may wish to use a budgeting app to do this. Some online bank accounts like Monzo and Revolut allow you to set up ‘pots’ or ‘vaults’ to divide your money into. This can be helpful if you will be receiving your funding all in one go, or every three months.
We have a small hardship fund for international students who experience short-term financial difficulties once they have begun their course. In all cases you will be expected to demonstrate that these difficulties are unexpected and temporary.
Read more about our hardship fund: International Student Hardship Fund.
Working during your studies
If you are studying a degree level course at the university you will be permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time. If you are studying at below degree level (for example a Pre-Sessional course) you will be permitted to work a maximum of 10 hours per week during term time. See our guidance on Student Route and the right to work for more details.
Many of our international student community work, and we have a Careers Service who can advise you on applying for part time work. However, the main purpose of your visa is to undertake full-time study and any paid or unpaid work you undertake should not interfere with your studies.
It is not viable to rely on income from paid work to fund your studies and you should ensure that you have made adequate provision to fund your course in advance. This is because you are not guaranteed to find part time work which offers you up to the permitted number of hours a week as this kind of work is in high demand in the UK currently.
We have included below some of the ‘myths’ we have heard from our international students about the cost of living and working in the UK.
MYTH: You only need to have the money required by UKVI to get your visa – you don’t really need to have the full amount available when you get to the UK.
BUSTED: Aside from the requirements of the visa application, you need to budget for at least £1,023 for every month you will be in the UK. This means in reality you will need to have access during your course to much more money than you have demonstrated in the visa application.
MYTH: There is an abundance of well paid, part time work in the UK.
BUSTED: You cannot rely on being able to work to pay for your studies. Part-time work is available in Brighton and Eastbourne, but it is in high demand due to the cost of living increase. You are not guaranteed to find work, and you cannot rely on being able to work to pay for your studies.
MYTH: I am a postgraduate student, I know I can work 20 hours per week in term time, and full time hours in the university vacation.
BUSTED: Postgraduate courses do not follow the same term-dates as undergraduate students do. For postgraduate students starting in September you will be limited to working 20 hours per week until you have completed your course. See our guidance on working with a Student visa for more details.
Read more about managing your money.
Read our guide on shops and shopping in the UK.