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Cheapest Universities in the UK for International Students (2023-2024)

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Feb 12, 2023Date Published
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UniSearch - Cheapest Universities in the UK for International Students (2023-2024)

Finding the most affordable UK universities can be a challenge. As an international student, your fees are automatically a couple of times higher than those of domestic students. Studying abroad in general doesn't come cheap, adding together not just tuition and fees but your living expenses too. However, don't let this discourage you from pursuing an education in one of the world's best study abroad destinations. In this article, UniSearch breaks down how to find the cheapest universities in the UK for international students!


UK Universities with the Lowest Tuition Fees for International Students

When it comes to selecting the right university, there are a lot of things you will want to consider. You may want to attend a university with top courses or an excellent global reputation. But what about the cost?

Studying in the UK can be expensive, especially for international students. However, given that the UK is a world leader in higher education, many consider the price tag worth it for the opportunities a UK degree help you access.

We have compiled a list of the cheapest universities in the UK for international students. Check these out for affordable options to get a first-rate education in one of the world' best study abroad destinations!


What Makes Studying in the UK So Appealing to International Students?

The UK is the second most popular destination for international students, with more than 1.5 million studying here yearly. With its long-time legacy of immigration, especially for education, its reputation as a stable country, and its incredibly high academic standards, this is hardly a surprise.


  • Top-Ranking Universities: The UK is home to top-ranked universities. The country offers quality higher education with excellent facilities and research opportunities, making it one of the best places in Europe (and the world) to get a degree that will help you compete in today's global economy.
  • Diverse Population: The UK is the second most popular destination for international students, with over 80,000 foreign-born individuals studying here annually. The diverse student population includes students from all over the world.
  • A Great Student Life: Your experience as a student in the UK will be one to remember for a lifetime. UK universities offer dedicated support services for international students, from accommodation, transport, and healthcare to career counselling.
  • Excellent Job Opportunities: With the right permissions, international students get the valuable opportunity to get work experience in one of the world's leading economic and industrial hubs. This could take the form of part-time jobs and/or internships and work placements related to your degree.
  • Scholarship and Bursaries: Many universities also offer scholarships and bursaries for international students who need financial assistance to pay their tuition fees or living expenses while studying in the UK. Know, how to get scholarships from UK universities if you want to lessen your cost of studying abroad. 

Cheapest Cities in the UK for International Students

As an international student, the price-tag of your study abroad journey may be weighing on your mind. A good place to start your search is pinpointing the city you want to study in. Tuition fees often reflect the cost of living in their location. In other words, the more expensive the city is to live, the higher (in general) are the tuition fees.

We looked at cities in the UK where international students are likely to find housing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. The result? A list of five cities that offer cheap rent and other perks. Here they are!

City
Kingston upon Hull
Nottingham
Derby
Leeds
Manchester
Cost of living (GBP)
593.81
676.69
688.66
716.25
730.02
Cost of accommodation
(GBP)
452.99
765.71
516.67
841.67
923.33
Cost of food
(GBP)
200.2
366.35
353.42
317.21
370.66
Cost of utilities
(GBP)
184.84138.90245.97252.40230.74
Cost of transport
(GBP)
69.5682.7578.61128.44135.33


Top 10 Cheapest Universities in the UK for International Students

With a diverse population and a reputation for outstanding education, the United Kingdom is an obvious choice for overseas students. Here are the top ten cheapest universities in the UK for international students:

University
Average Tuition fees (GBP)
University of Bolton
11,250/year
University of Cumbria
12,800/year
University of Chester
12,950/year
Teesside University
13,000/year
University of Bedfordshire
13,000/year
University of West London
13,250/year
University of Wolverhampton
13,950/year
Leeds Beckett University
14,000/year
University of Greenwich
15,100/year
University of Stirling
16,775/year

*Note: The average tuition fees determine the list of universities. It may vary based on your course, level, and study area.



1. University of Bolton

If you are looking for a cheap university in the UK, then the University of Bolton is the right choice for you. It is one of the most affordable universities in the UK and offers great value.

The tuition fees for international students at this university are £12,500 per year with a maximum fee of £14,450 per year. You will also have to pay an additional £1,000 deposit ahead of your first term, which you can use towards your accommodation costs if necessary.

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £14,250; Postgraduate-£ 11,250

Overall cost of living: £7,000/year

Campus accommodation: £3,300/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS : Undergraduate: 6.0; Postgraduate: 6.5
  • TOEFL : Undergraduate: 83; Postgraduate: 88
  • PTE :Undergraduate: 51; Postgraduate: 59

Popular Programs: Engineering, Architecture, Nursing

Scholarships for international students:

  • Stoller Scholarship
  • Excellence Scholarship
  • International Excellence Scholarships

2. University of Cumbria

The University of Cumbria has a reputation for excellent teaching and support services. It also offers many scholarships and grants to international students who want to study here but may not have been able to afford the full cost of their degree course due to financial constraints or other reasons.

The university has over 10 million pounds worth of funding from the government each year, so plenty of opportunities are available for those who apply!

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £12,350; Postgraduate-£11,990

Overall cost of living: £2,600/year

Campus accommodation: £4,095/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS : Undergraduate: 6.0; Postgraduate: 6.5
  • TOEFL : Undergraduate: 72; Postgraduate:80
  • PTE :Undergraduate: 62; Postgraduate: 65

Popular Programs: Education, Law, Psychology

Scholarships for international students: GREAT Scholarship


3. University of Chester

The university has over 12,000 students from over 60 countries studying for undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. Most of these students come from Europe but also many Asian, Middle Eastern, and African students attend this institution full-time or part-time.

You should note that tuition fees for international students range from £12,000 (non-EU citizens) to £14,000 per year.

Four halls of residence at the university accommodate up to 500 students each, depending on the room type (single rooms or shared bathrooms). 

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £12,750; Postgraduate-£13,380

Overall cost of living: £9,135/year

Campus accommodation: £2,599/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS: Undergraduate: 6.0; Postgraduate: 6.5
  • TOEFL: Undergraduate: 79; Postgraduate: 88
  • PTE: Undergraduate: 61; Postgraduate: 65

Popular Programs: Engineering, IT, Management

Scholarships for international students:

  • International Alumni Scholarship
  • Chevening Scholarship
  • DIKTI Scholarships
  • Goa Education Trust Scholarship
  • Snowdon Masters Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Scholarship

4. Teesside University

Teesside University ensures an outstanding education to its students through its extensive array of study programs and high-quality teaching and research. The university's affordable tuition prices make it even more appealing to international students.

A full-time undergraduate course costs between £11,825-13,000 each academic year. Tuition fee schemes vary significantly at the postgraduate level. They range from £5,875 for a part-time distance learning research degree to £17,000 for a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Depending on your accommodation situation, cost of living can vary too. Some international students choose to live with local students or families while they attend university or college, cutting down on expenses.

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £11,000- 13,000; Postgraduate- £11,380-17,000

Overall cost of living: £9,207/year

Campus accommodation: £3,380/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS: Undergraduate: 5.5-7; Postgraduate: 6-7
  • PTE: Undergraduate: 51-66; Postgraduate: 51-66

Popular Programs: Business & Management Studies, Engineering, and Computer Science

Scholarships for international students:

  • Global Excellence Scholarship
  • Vice Chancellor's Scholarship
  • International Development Scholarship
  • Deans' International Scholarships
  • Teesside University Advance Alumni Scholarship
  • Family Loyalty Discount
  • British Council GREAT Scholarships
  • British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM
  • Commonwealth Scholarships
  • Chevening Scholarship
  • UK government’s international awards scheme
  • Office for Students MSc scholarships


5. University of Bedfordshire

The University of Bedfordshire is a public research university in England. The university offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees across 8 faculties: Arts, Business & Law, Engineering & Physical Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences (Chemistry/Physics).

The university has a global appeal, housing over 20,000 students from over 120 countries. Aside from being a well-regarded and appreciated university, it also has low tuition prices for international students.

According to their tuition policy, international undergraduate students must pay between GBP 9,000- 12,500 for a BA or BSc degree program, GBP 9,900-12,600 for an MA/MSc degree program, and GBP 11,250 for an MBA degree program.

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £12,660; Postgraduate-£12,450

Overall cost of living: £9,150/year

Campus accommodation: £7,780/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS : Undergraduate: 6.0; Postgraduate: 6.0
  • TOEFL : Undergraduate: 72; Postgraduate:72
  • PTE :Undergraduate: 51; Postgraduate: 51

Popular Programs: Business Management, English Language and Literature, and Communication

Scholarships for international students:

  • Undergraduate Scholarships and Discounts
  • Postgraduate Taught (excluding MBA)
  • MBA Scholarships and Discounts
  • Postgraduate Research Scholarships and Discounts
  • Scholarships and Discounts for Engineering Students
  • Alumni Loyalty Scholarship

6. University of West London

This institution is well-recognized for its research centers, talented faculty, and quality teaching. Its tuition fees are among the lowest in the UK, with no need to pay more than £13,000 per year for an undergraduate degree.

The University of West London also provides one of the cheapest MBA programs in London for international students. This makes it one of the cheapest universities in the UK for international students and ideal for students who want to study at an affordable price without sacrificing quality or resources. 

Its location allows students to access an affordable education in the world's best student city, according to QS Best Student Cities 2023!  

The university has several scholarships available that can help offset some costs. Funding opportunities also include bursaries and grants worth up to £5,000 yearly (or up to £10k over four years). If you're applying as an international student, you'll need to complete your application through UCAS.

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £12,500; Postgraduate-£13,800

The overall cost of living: £7,800/year

Campus accommodation: £8,580/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS : Undergraduate: 6.0; Postgraduate: 6.5
  • TOEFL : Undergraduate: 78; Postgraduate: 88
  • PTE :Undergraduate: 54; Postgraduate: 58

Popular Programs: Engineering, Hospitality Management, and Nursing

  • Scholarships for international students:
  • International Ambassador Scholarships
  • AMO Scholarship
  • LGCHT Friends and Alumni Scholarship
  • The 'Spike' Stent Scholarship
  • The Anne Naysmith Scholarship
  • The Cathie Wallace Scholarship
  • The Ian Carter Scholarship
  • The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation Scholarship in Hospitality Management

7. University of Wolverhampton

The University of Wolverhampton is a public university in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. The Guardian ranks it as one of the top 100 universities in the UK for Academic Excellence.

The university has approximately 23,000 students who choose the university because of its innovative technologies, depth of faculty experience, and employer-responsive programs.

The University of Wolverhampton has a diverse student body, with over 2,500 international students from more than 140 countries. Tuition rates vary depending on the program. The average tuition cost will not exceed GBP 14,000 per year.

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £12,500/ Postgraduate-£13,800

Overall cost of living: £7,800/year

Campus accommodation: £8,580/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS : Undergraduate: 6.0; Postgraduate: 6.5
  • TOEFL: Undergraduate: 78; Postgraduate:88
  • PTE: Undergraduate: 54; Postgraduate: 58

Popular Programs: Engineering, Business, Management & Marketing, and Accounting & Finance

Scholarships for international students:

  • Lord Paul Excellence Scholarships
  • GREAT Scholarships
  • The Commonwealth Scholarships
  • Chevening Scholarships
  • International Academy Scholarship
  • Alumni Scholarship

8. University of Greenwich

The University of Greenwich, as one of the best institutions in the United Kingdom, excels in responsible consumerism, land life, decreasing inequities, partnering for objectives, and climate action.

More than 14,200 students attend the University, with 38% coming from non-EU countries. The institution offers a diverse range of courses to international students. The annual tuition fees fall between £13,000 to £15,000, depending on the program. It also has several scholarships available for international students.

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £14,480/ Postgraduate- £14,830

Overall cost of living: £11,385/year

Campus accommodation: £5,849/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS : Undergraduate: 6.0; Postgraduate: 6.5
  • TOEFL : Undergraduate: 83; Postgraduate:88

Popular Programs: Engineering, Business and Management, and Economics

Scholarships for international students:

  • Sanctuary Scholarship
  • Greenwich Bursary
  • William Hills Scholarships
  • Visionary Scholarships
  • Ann Packer
  • Sports Scholarships

9. Leeds Beckett University

This university identifies itself as a university with distinct educational aspirations. Its mission is to provide students with extraordinary knowledge and skills to guide them into the future.

The university has a variety of collaborations with various organisations and businesses in the area to guarantee that its students have the best access to work opportunities after finishing their studies.

At present, the university has approximately 28,000 students from around 100 countries. This is one of the UK universities accepting students with study gaps.  As an international student, you can study here despite having several years of study gap. 

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £ 12,350; Postgraduate-£ 11,990

Overall cost of living: £2,600/year

Campus accommodation: £4,095/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS : Undergraduate: 6.0; Postgraduate: 6.5
  • TOEFL : Undergraduate: 72; Postgraduate:80
  • PTE :Undergraduate: 62; Postgraduate: 65

Popular Programs: Engineering, Hospitality & Tourism, and Information Technology (IT)

Scholarships for international students:

  • LBU: International Students Scholarship
  • Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Postgraduate Scholarship

10. University of Stirling

Alongside its great reputation, the University of Stirling is one of the most affordable universities in the United Kingdom. It is a small university with around 6,000 students that offers degrees in various subjects. Stirling received five stars from QS Top Universities for education, employability, services, and inclusion.

Undergraduate students must pay £12,140 for a classroom-based course and £14,460 for a laboratory-based program at this university. This doesn't include additional costs like textbooks or accommodation. Postgraduate tuition expenses can range between £13,650 and £18,970. If you're looking for an affordable university to study at, this one should be on your list.

Average Tuition Fee Per Year: Undergraduate - £13,900; Postgraduate- £15,510

The overall cost of living: £8,213/ year

Campus accommodation: £7,740/year

English Score Required:

  • IELTS: Undergraduate: 6.0; Postgraduate: 6.5
  • TOEFL: Undergraduate: 78; Postgraduate:80
  • PTE :Undergraduate: 54; Postgraduate: 60

Popular Programs: Business, Management and Marketing, Computer Science and Information Systems, and Economics

Scholarships for international students:

  • Postgraduate India Scholarship
  • International Undergraduate scholarship
  • INTO Sterling Progression Scholarships
  • Postgraduate International Excellence Scholarship

Money-Saving Tips for International Students

Besides looking at the cheapest universities in the UK for international students, you can save money while studying in the UK by using these tips:

  • Find affordable accommodation: As an international student, finding accommodation within your budget and with good facilities is essential. Don't ignore options farther away from your campus if these are more affordable. You may have to spend a bit more for the commute, but if this adds up to much less than what you'll be spending in rent, it's a worthwhile trade-off. Online student forums in your area are a great place to scout locations, as is your school's student support office. While choosing an area with good transport links, ensure it is safe too!
  • Eat meals at home instead of restaurants: Eating out can be expensive, so make sure you have enough in your bank account left after paying for books and other utilities before buying lunch daily! If you're living on campus, meals might come with the package. It's a question of comparing your options and understanding which is friendlier for your wallet. Either way, try to eat well-cooked meals at home instead of eating out. Going out once or twice a month will not have a significant financial impact, but takeout everyday can spell bad news your monthly expenses. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where are the cheapest universities in the UK located?

The cheapest universities in the UK for international students can be found all over the country, including London, QS Top Universities #1 pick for Best Student City. You can also find cheaper universities in other cities like Edinburgh and York.


Is there any way to get a better deal on my tuition fees?

There are many ways to lower your tuition fees, but they all require more time and effort! To save money while still receiving quality education from top-notch universities, you can apply for scholarships and bursaries offered by universities. You should also find a place that is near to your university yet has cheaper living expenses. It can end up saving you a significant amount of money to help offset your tuition.


What difficulties do international students experience in the UK?

The UK is a great place to study, but there are some challenges that international students could face. The main problem international students face is the cultural difference between their home country and the UK.

Some cultures find it difficult to adapt to new changes or ways of doing things that may differ from their own culture, especially when those changes are drastic or unexpected, like moving from one country to another entirely different one, such as he UK!

We advise you to get involved in local activities and extracurriculars. These are a good opportunity to make friends with locals and learn about their customs. You can talk with other international students at the school who have been through similar situations to learn from them and get tips to adapt!

With time and patience, cultural differences will be less jarring and become part of the appeal of studying abroad. You may even find yourself picking up some of the idiosyncrasies of your local friends!


Our Concluding Thoughts

The UK is a popular choice for international students for many reasons. The country's universities offer challenging and enjoyable coursework, and the variety of courses will open up many different prospects for your future career. Studying in the UK will also expose you to a new culture and allow you to travel around the country. The cost of tuition is one of the most significant barriers for international students when choosing where to study. We hope this list has helped you find the cheapest universities in the UK for international students, so you can narrow your search and find your ideal destination that much faster!

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