Cheap Universities in UK for International Students

Dr Mohammad Shafiq

Cheap Universities in UK for International Students

Cheap Universities in UK for International Students

The United Kingdom has long been a premier station for international students seeking a world-class higher education. However, in today's increasingly globalized world, ensuring that education is truly accessible for all international students is more crucial than ever.

While the UK boasts several advantages for international students, there are also challenges to overcome. This write-up sets the stage for exploring cheap universities in UK for international students. Let’s get right in.

Understanding the Cost of Higher Education in the UK

Studying in the United Kingdom can be a rewarding experience, but it's crucial to understand the financial commitments involved before embarking on this journey. Let's break down the key cost factors and explore financial aid options for international students:

Tuition Fees

International students generally have to pay higher tuition fees than UK/EU residents. Significant variations exist across universities, program types, and study levels:

  • Undergraduate: £10,000 - £38,000 per year (average: £22,200)
  • Postgraduate: £9,000 - £30,000 per year (average: £17,109)
  • Ph.D.: Up to £18,000 per year
  • Discipline: Medical, law, and business courses typically have higher fees.
  • University location: London and other major cities tend to be more expensive.

Living Expenses

  • Accommodation: Rents vary depending on location, type of housing (shared/private), and lifestyle choices. Expect £7,000 - £15,000 per year.
  • Food: Budgeting £5,000 - £8,000 per year is advisable.
  • Transportation: Costs depend on travel frequency and chosen mode (public, bicycle, etc.).
  • Other expenses: Include utilities, textbooks, healthcare, socializing, and entertainment.


  • Visa application fees: £348 for a Tier 4 student visa.
  • Travel costs: Flights, airport transfers, and local travel within the UK.
  • Health insurance: Mandatory for international students, costing around £250 per year.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

International students have various options to help manage costs:

  • Government scholarships: Check your home country's government education department for scholarship programs.
  • University scholarships: Many universities offer merit-based or subject-specific scholarships for international students. Research opportunities on individual university websites.
  • Chevening Scholarships: Prestigious UK government scholarships for full-time master's degrees.
  • Commonwealth Scholarships: Funded by Commonwealth member governments for master's and Ph.D. studies.
  • Loans and grants: Explore options from your home country or international organizations like the World Bank.
  • Work-study opportunities: Limited options available on campus or with approved employers.

The Allure of Low-Cost Universities

The Allure of Low-Cost Universities

While the UK offers several advantages for international students, high tuition fees remain a significant barrier for many. As a result, universities with lower tuition fees often experience increased international student enrollment. However, it's crucial to carefully consider the implications of this trend on both affordability and the quality of education.

Lower tuition creates opportunities for students from diverse economic backgrounds, promoting greater social mobility and international education equality. Competitive tuition fees can attract bright and motivated students who might otherwise be unable to afford to study abroad. Increased international enrollment enriches the campus environment with diverse perspectives and cultural experiences.

However, Lower tuition can lead to decreased revenue for universities, impacting the quality of resources, faculty, and infrastructure. Larger class sizes due to budget constraints can negatively impact individual attention and learning outcomes. Reduced funding may force universities to limit program offerings or research opportunities, potentially hindering student choice and academic innovation.

While low-cost universities can significantly increase access to international education, it's essential to address the potential downsides and balance affordability and quality. Careful planning, innovative funding models, and a commitment to maintaining academic standards are crucial to ensure that lower tuition doesn't come at the expense of educational excellence.

List of Affordable Universities in UK for International Students

University of Cumbria

Immersing students in stunning natural surroundings, the University of Cumbria offers unique programs in Agriculture, Animal Science, and Outdoor Studies.

  • Location: Carlisle, Cumbria (North West England)
  • Tuition fees: £12,000 - £15,000 per year for international students
  • Courses: Agriculture, Animal Science, Business, Computing, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Humanities, Law, Nursing, Outdoor Studies, Tourism & Hospitality
  • Opportunities: Work placements, international exchange programs, strong industry links
  • Website:

University of Chester

Steeped in history, the University of Chester provides a unique learning experience in a charming city.

  • Location: Chester, Cheshire (North West England)
  • Tuition fees: £12,500 - £15,500 per year for international students
  • Courses: Accounting, Business, Computer Science, Creative Writing, Education, Engineering, History, Law, Marketing, Media Studies, Nursing, Psychology
  • Opportunities: Study abroad programs, volunteering opportunities, strong alumni network
  • Website:

Staffordshire University

Staffordshire University

Offering a broad range of programs, from Medicine and Nursing to Creative Arts and Law, Staffordshire University caters to diverse academic interests.

  • Location: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire (West Midlands, England)
  • Tuition fees: £12,000 - £15,000 per year for international students
  • Courses: Accounting, Biomedical Science, Business, Computer Science, Criminology, Education, Engineering, Fashion Design, Film & Television, Forensic Science, Healthcare, Law, Marketing, Media Studies, Nursing, Psychology, Sports Science
  • Opportunities: Internships, research opportunities, career development support
  • Website:

Leeds Beckett University

Situated in a vibrant city, Leeds Beckett University emphasizes employability skills, preparing students for successful careers.

  • Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire (North England)
  • Tuition Fee: £12,000/year
  • Courses: Business, Law, Arts, Humanities, Education, Science, Technology, Engineering, Social Sciences
  • Location: Bustling Leeds provides a dynamic student experience with ample cultural offerings and career opportunities.
  • Opportunities: Benefit from a dedicated careers service focusing on employability skills development. Immerse yourself in a vibrant student life fostered by numerous clubs and societies. Explore scholarship opportunities to reduce costs further.
  • Website:

Teesside University

Teesside University focuses on practical learning and industry partnerships, equipping graduates with the skills employers seek.

  • Location: Middlesbrough, North East England
  • Tuition Fee: £12,500/year
  • Courses: Business, Engineering, Science, Health, Social Sciences, Humanities, Education
  • Location: Middlesbrough offers a unique blend of industrial heritage and modern development with relatively low living costs.
  • Opportunities: Immerse yourself in practical learning through strong industry partnerships and real-world project opportunities. Various scholarships are available to ease the financial burden.
  • Website:

University of Bedfordshire

The University of Bedfordshire focuses on employability skills and has strong links to local businesses, ensuring graduates are job-ready.

  • Location: Bedford and Luton, Bedfordshire (East of England)
  • Tuition fees: £12,500 - £15,500 per year for international students
  • Courses: Business, Education, Engineering, Health & Social Care, Law, Media & Communication, Psychology, Sports Science
  • Opportunities: Work placements, study abroad programs, volunteering opportunities, career support
  • Website:

Coventry University

Coventry University boasts a modern campus and strong industry links, providing valuable work experience opportunities.

  • Location: Coventry, West Midlands, England
  • Tuition fees: £12,500 - £16,000 per year for international students
  • Courses: Business, Engineering, Health & Life Sciences, Humanities & Law, Science & Technology, Social Sciences
  • Opportunities: Work placements, international exchange programs, research opportunities, strong industry partnerships
  • Website:

University of the West of Scotland

Offering affordable living costs and a diverse campus environment, the University of the West of Scotland attracts international students from various backgrounds.

  • Location: Paisley, Scotland
  • Average Tuition Fee: £14,500/year
  • Courses: Business, Education, Engineering, Health, Science, Social Sciences, Creative Industries
  • Opportunities: Affordable living costs, diverse campus, scholarships available
  • Website:

Wrexham Glyndwr University

Nestled in North Wales, Wrexham Glyndwr boasts strong industry connections and practical learning opportunities.

  • Location: Wrexham, Wales
  • Tuition Fee: £11,500/year
  • Courses: Business, Computing, Engineering, Design, Social Sciences, Humanities, Education, Science
  • Location: Wrexham offers a vibrant mix of urban and rural living with affordable costs.
  • Opportunities: Gain valuable industry experience through work placements and internships or participate in international exchange programs. Strong ties to local businesses enhance graduate employability.
  • Website:

Exploring Affordable University Programs

Exploring Affordable University Programs

Low-Cost Program Options in STEM

  • University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland): Renowned for its engineering and technology prowess, Strathclyde offers programs like Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science at an average tuition fee of £15,500. It boasts strong industry partnerships and research opportunities.
  • University of Dundee (Dundee, Scotland): Nestled in a picturesque city, Dundee excels in life sciences and medicine. Programs like Biomedical Science and Pharmacy come with an average tuition fee of £16,000, coupled with a supportive and research-intensive environment.
  • Swansea University (Swansea, Wales): Boasting engineering and computer science expertise, Swansea offers programs like Aerospace Engineering and Data Science at an average tuition fee of £16,500. Its modern campus and vibrant student life add to the appeal.

Affordable Humanities and Social Sciences Programs

  • University of East Anglia (Norwich, England): Nestled in a historic city, UEA shines in literature, creative writing, and international relations. Programs like English Literature and Development Studies have an average tuition fee of £14,500, attracting students worldwide.
  • Bangor University (Bangor, Wales): Offering affordable programs in history, archaeology, and philosophy, Bangor boasts an average tuition fee of £15,000. Its stunning location and focus on Welsh culture offer a unique experience.
  • University of Aberdeen (Aberdeen, Scotland): Renowned for its humanities and social sciences programs, Aberdeen offers history, sociology, and law at an average tuition fee of £16,000. Its historic campus and vibrant city life create a memorable learning environment.

Cheapest Business and Management Programs in the UK

  • Aston University (Birmingham, England): Located in a major business hub, Aston offers prestigious programs like Business Management and Finance at an average tuition fee of £14,000. Its strong industry connections and career support are highly valued.
  • Queen Mary University of London (London, England): Situated right in the heart of London, Queen Mary offers diverse business programs like International Business and Marketing at an average tuition fee of £15,000. Its global outlook and multicultural campus are major draws.
  • University of Edinburgh Business School (Edinburgh, Scotland): Renowned for its prestigious MBA program, Edinburgh Business School also offers affordable master's programs in finance and entrepreneurship at an average tuition fee of £16,500. Its international reputation and alumni network are impressive assets.

Living in the UK: Budget-Friendly Cities for International Students


Sheffield is consistently ranked as one of the UK's most affordable cities for students. The average cost of rent for a student in Sheffield is around £400 per month, which is significantly lower than the national average of £520. Additionally, the cost of groceries, transportation, and other essentials is also relatively low in Sheffield.


Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is another great option for budget-minded students. The cost of living in Belfast is generally lower than that of other major UK cities, and plenty of affordable student accommodation options are available. Additionally, Belfast offers a vibrant student life with various cultural attractions and activities.


Aberdeen, located in Scotland, is known for its oil industry and offers a relatively high standard of living. However, the cost of living in Aberdeen is still lower than that of many other UK cities, particularly in terms of accommodation. Students can find good deals on flats and shared accommodation in Aberdeen.


Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is a famous choice for international students due to its friendly atmosphere and affordable cost of living. The average cost of rent for a student in Cardiff is around £450 per month, and the cost of groceries, transportation, and other essentials is also relatively low. Additionally, Cardiff is home to a number of universities, so there is a large and diverse student community.


Liverpool is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture. The cost of living in Liverpool is generally lower than that of other major UK cities, and several affordable student accommodation options are available. Additionally, Liverpool offers a lively student life with a variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants.

How to Apply to Low Tuition Fee Universities in the UK

How to Apply to Low Tuition Fee Universities in the UK

Application Process for International Students

Step 1: Target Your Search

Explore the provided list, university websites, and rankings like QS World University Rankings. Prioritize based on program interest and budget. Compare tuition fees, living costs, and scholarships. Utilize databases and university websites for relevant opportunities. Ensure academic qualifications, English language proficiency requirements, and program-specific prerequisites are met.

Step 2: Strengthen Your Application

Maintain good academic performance and highlight relevant achievements on your CV. Aim for high scores on required entrance exams like IELTS or TOEFL. Craft a compelling statement outlining your goals, motivations, and program fit. Secure strong letters of recommendation.

Step 3: Application Process

Submit applications well before deadlines to maximize chances and scholarship opportunities. Check individual university deadlines. Pay application fees promptly and consider currency exchange rates. Ensure all required documents (transcripts, test scores, financial proof) are submitted accurately and on time.

Tips for Securing Admission to Cheap Universities in the UK

  • Showcase unique experiences, extracurricular activities, or volunteer work demonstrating your potential contribution.
  • Connect with alumni from your chosen university for insights and guidance.
  • Prepare for potential interview questions about your academic goals, program fit, and motivation to study in the UK.
  • Consider consulting educational consultants or advisors specializing in UK universities for personalized guidance.


The UK's higher education landscape presents a complex picture, balancing the allure of prestigious universities with the stark reality of rising tuition fees. While international students face financial hurdles, numerous cheap universities in UK for international students offer opportunities for affordable and quality education.

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