uni-education-costs-uk

Hoping to fund your child’s overseas university education? When it comes to Singaporeans’ preferred destinations for international study, the UK is one of the most popular locations by far.

uni-education-costs-uk

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While there are plenty of prestigious universities in the UK that are worth looking into, UK university fees (and the associated living expenses!) are arguably pretty exorbitant.

Of course, you’ll have to take the exchange rate into account as well. As of now, S$1.75 will get you £1, which isn’t that bad — but should the value of the pound skyrocket in the future, this might have a huge impact on your ability to pay for your child’s university education.

So: exactly how much should you expect to spend if your child studies in the UK?

To help you get an accurate picture of the expenses involved, we’ve listed down the average costs of studying in the UK — including university fees, the cost of food and accommodation, and other miscellaneous costs.

Read on to find out more!

How much does a degree cost in the UK?

First and foremost, let’s look at how much university fees in the UK cost.

Here, we’ll break down the average tuition fees for five highly popular universities in the UK: Imperial College London, London School of Economics, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and University of London.

Here are the costs associated with getting a professional degree from these universities:

 

Medicine

Dentistry

Accountancy

Law

Engineering

Imperial College London

£246,000

NA

NA

NA

£90,750

London School of Economics

NA

NA

£59,760

£59,760

NA

University of Oxford

£194,055

NA

NA

£78,705

£104,034

University of Cambridge

£315,828

NA

NA

£57,591

£92,034

University of London

£222,000

£217,500

£41,025

£61,920

£52,500

And here’s the breakdown for non-professional degrees:

 

Arts / Social Sciences

Computing

Business

Science

Imperial College London

NA

£90,750

NA

£93,000

London School of Economics

£59,760

NA

£59,760

NA

University of Oxford

£81,720

£104,034

NA

£81,720

University of Cambridge

£57,591

£92,034

NA

£92,034

University of London

£49,710

£41,025

£41,025

£80,220

As mentioned previously, the exchange rate is currently hovering at around £1 = S$1.75. Bearing this in mind, this is how much professional degrees in the five universities cost when converted back to SGD:

 

Medicine

Dentistry

Accountancy

Law

Engineering

Imperial College London

S$430,500

NA

NA

NA

S$158,813

London School of Economics

NA

NA

S$104,580

S$104,580

NA

University of Oxford

S$339,596

NA

NA

S$137,734

S$182,060

University of Cambridge

S$552,699

NA

NA

S$100,784

S$161,060

University of London

S$388,500

S$380,625

S$71,794

S$108,360

S$91,875

And here’s the breakdown for non-professional degrees, converted back to SGD:

 

Arts / Social Sciences

Computing

Business

Science

Imperial College London

NA

S$158,813

NA

S$162,750

London School of Economics

S$104,580

NA

S$104,580

NA

University of Oxford

S$143,010

S$182,060

NA

S$143,010

University of Cambridge

S$100,784

S$161,060

NA

S$161,060

University of London

S$86,993

S$71,794

S$71,794

S$140,385

While these fees might be on the high side, do take into consideration that UK university courses can generally be completed in shorter durations as compared to local and US university courses.

For instance, say your child wants to read Economics. If they get a spot in one of the universities in UK, they’ll be able to undertake an Economics course with direct honours, which means that they’ll get their honours degree in three years instead of four.

Cost of student accommodation in the UK

International students who study in the UK typically stay in their university’s residences in their first year. While some choose to continue their stay subsequently, others might move out into private accommodation.

As a general rule of thumb, staying on campus tends to be more cost-effective than staying in a rented apartment.

To get an idea of what on-campus housing fees will cost you, let’s take a look at the various options available for students studying in Imperial College London:  

Accommodation

Weekly Rent

Rent Over 3 Years

Beit Hall

Up to £231

Up to £27,027

The Costume Store

Up to £134

Up to £15,678

Eastside Halls

Up to £134

Up to £15,678

Parsons House

Up to £134

Up to £15,678

Pembridge Hall

Up to £160

Up to £18,720

Putney Boathouse

Up to £141

Up to £16,497

Southside Halls

Up to £281

Up to £32,877

Wilson House

Up to £195

Up to £22,815

Woodward Buildings

Up to £153

Up to £17,901

Xenia

Up to £205

Up to £23,985

Note: These costs are tabulated based on an academic year of nine months, which works out to be 39 weeks. If your child stays in the UK instead of returning to Singapore during their holidays, then this will bump up their housing costs.

Assuming that your child will be studying in Imperial College London (or a comparable university in London), and they intend to stay on campus for the entirety of their university career, you’ll want to allocate an average of £20,685 (S$36,198) for their accommodation costs.

What if your child wants to live in a rented apartment, instead of staying on-campus? According to University College London, the average student can expect to spend £8,190 per academic year on rent outside the campus. This works out to be £24,570 over three years, which translates to approximately S$42,997.

University College London aside, we’ve also collated the average accommodation costs across London School of Economics, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and University of London. Here’s the breakdown:

 

On campus

Off campus

Imperial College London

S$36,198

S$42,997

London School of Economics

S$42,214

S$42,997

University of Oxford

S$31,988

S$36,855

University of Cambridge

S$30,712

S$47,250

University of London

S$42,588

S$42,997

Feeling the pinch already? Housing costs in the UK vary widely according to region, so if you send your child to study somewhere less central, this will definitely push down your costs.

According to Save the Student’s National Student Accommodation Survey 2017, for instance, students in Northern Ireland spend only £91 (S$159) on rent per week, which translates to just £10,647 (S$18,632) for a duration of three years.

uni-education-costs-uk

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Good to know: while the average rents in areas outside of London are typically affordable, you’ll have to make an exception for rents in renowned university towns.

Take the University of Oxford, for example. This university is located in South East England, where the average rent is said to be £132 per week.

However, consider that Oxford is a highly sought after school, and demand for accommodation in the area is high. Bearing this in mind, your child’s rental fees (for accommodation near Oxford) is likely to be significantly higher than what they would pay to rent a place near a relatively unknown university that’s also in South East England.

Cost of food, transport and other expenses in the UK

Now that we’re done with the big-ticket items, let’s move on to calculating the costs of food, transport and other expenses in UK.

Most UK universities detail their students’ average living costs within their websites, and we’ve plugged in the figures accordingly here:

  • Imperial College London: £2,265 per academic year for food, £1,677 for leisure and £995 for transport
  • London School of Economics: £2,100 per month for all living costs
  • University of Oxford: £11,559 per academic year for all living costs
  • University of Cambridge: £10,950 per academic year for all living costs
  • University of London: dependent on which campus your child attends, but a rough estimate is £15,103 per academic year for all living costs.

Now, to sum up the total costs across three years and convert the amount back to SGD:

 

Cost per year

Cost across 3 years

Cost across 3 years

Imperial College London

£4,937

£14,811

S$25,919

London School of Economics

£18,900

£56,700

S$99,225

University of Oxford

£11,559

£34,677

S$60,685

University of Cambridge

£10,950

£32,850

S$57,488

University of London

£15,103

£45,309

S$79,291

Total costs of a university education in the UK

Alright, let’s total up the final costs, inclusive of rent, tuition fees and living expenses:

 

Living Costs

Min rental

Min university fees

Total fees

Imperial College London

S$25,919

S$36,198

S$158,813

S$220,930

London School of Economics

S$99,225

S$42,214

S$104,580

S$246,019

University of Oxford

S$60,685

S$31,988

S$137,734

S$230,407

University of Cambridge

S$57,488

S$30,712

S$100,784

S$188,984

University of London

S$79,291

S$42,588

S$71,794

S$193,673

All in all, you’ll be paying upwards of $188,984 if your child heads to the UK for a 3-year course. Note that this figure is based on the cheapest university degrees that students can undergo in the UK; these tend to be business courses.

While Engineering and Science courses are also 3-year courses, these generally cost more, and Medicine courses (which take a total of 6 years to complete) can cost 3 to 5x that of a Business degree.

How much will the cost of a university education in the UK rise in the next few years?

The final figure we’ve arrived at $188,984 — but note that this is the minimum that you’ll be paying for a UK university degree today.

Assuming that you’re a new parent, and your child won’t be off to university until 20 years down the road, you’ll also have to account for inflation across the years.

Keep in mind that the Parliament in UK recently passed new legislation allowing almost all universities in England to increase tuition fees in line with inflation, year on year. This means that you can definitely expect price hikes further down the road.

So, how much will a UK university education cost in 2039? To come up with an estimate, we’ll have to take into consideration UK inflation rates over the past few years.

According to the Office for National Statistics composite price index, the average price of goods and services in the UK is now 67.12% higher than it was in 2000. This means that the pound experienced an average inflation rate of 2.74% per year.

uni-education-costs-uk

As compared to this, the existing inflation rate (2018 to 2019) is 1.2%. Let’s take a conservative estimate, and assume that the inflation rate will increase by 2% per year moving forward.

Bearing this in mind, this works out to $280,820 that you’ll have to pay for a basic 3-year degree in 2039. If you’re hoping that your child will study Medicine, this will increase to a minimum of $596,924.

Is it worth it to pay for a university education in the UK?

$280,820++ is a lot of money to fork out for a degree — and at this point, you might be wondering, is it worth it to pay for a university education in the UK?

Well, there’s no denying that higher education in the UK is known to be the best of the best. As StudyAbroad.sg notes, 38% of Nobel Laureates who studied abroad did so in the UK, and three UK universities place in the Times Higher Education World Rankings’ top 10 universities.

That said, whether it’s worth it to shell out a few hundred thousand dollars for a UK degree also depends on other factors, including:

  • How many children do you have? Are you funding all of their educations?
  • Is it possible for your child to get a scholarship, to offset some of their school fees?
  • Do you want your child to work abroad in the future? If so, allowing them to study overseas might open up more opportunities.

Consider all your options and weigh up the pros and cons, before making your choice!

Have you started saving up for your child’s education? Have you ever considered Australia? Do you intend to encourage your child to study in a local or private university? Let us know.