The tuition fees in the UK experienced a steep rise in the last years. However, there are big differences between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Furthermore, various loans and grants are offered to students to cope with the higher tuition fees.
After various changes in the last years, England charges the most from its students, the tuition fees varying from £6,000 to £9,000 per year for Bachelors / Undergraduates and from £3.000 to £9.000 for MBAs / Postgraduates.
Nevertheless, this European country has given students the opportunity to learn and study in universities that they want, but maybe they cannot afford it. Funding opportunities were implemented, such as Tuition Fee Loans that pay for your course (eligible for UK and EU students), Maintenance Loans and Grants which help with living costs (e.g. accommodation, books, bills). Unfortunately, these are only eligible to UK students. As the official website states, Loans must be paid back, grants do not.
The same website highlights the eligibility criteria that you have to prove in order to obtain such a financial support, like for instance your university or college, your course, previous studies in a higher education system, age, nationality and residency status.
Big differences between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Another detailed website concerning the complex process of studying in the UK presents in an estimative manner the Maximum annual tuition fees for 2013 entry, that are Up to £9k in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for UK and EU students, but with small exceptions. For example, the EU students do not have to pay tuition fees in Scotland. Plus, the maximum amount that EU students have to pay in Northern Ireland is Up to £3,575, a visibly smaller sum of money than the one previously mentioned.
Scotland might pay for your tuition fee
As for the financial support in Scotland, the agency SAAS dealing with this matter states on its website that If your main reason in coming to Scotland from an EU country outside the UK is to study, we will pay your tuition fees only. This means that you are entitled to the EU Tuition fees only if you meet the eligibility criteria, some of which were stated before.
The good news is that If you are eligible to receive a student loan andtake one, you will have to start to pay this back the April after you graduate or leave your course. The amount you pay back depends on what you earn. Most of the times, the monthly sum that you have to pay back represents a small percentage of the salary you earn after graduation, which encourages the application process by more attractive.
Tuition fees capped in Northern Ireland and Wales for eligible students
Concerning the process for obtaining student finance in Wales, this also depends on several criteria, as mentioned on the governments website: Personal eligibility this takes into account where you live, how old you are and whether youve had student finance before, Course eligibility this is whether or not the course you want to study is eligible for financial help, University or college eligibility this is whether or not the university or college youre planning to go to is eligible for financial help.
A special section of this same website informs students that they can get a Tuition Fee Loan to cover all or the first part of the tuition fees your university or college will charge you, up to a maximum of £3,575, the current repayment threshold being £21,000 a year before tax.
The same financial possibilities are also available in Northern Ireland, the Tuition Fee Loan being described on their website as having the following advantages: a Tuition Fee Loan covers all or part of your tuition fees, students need to pay it back after they have finished their course, they will be charged interest on any amount they borrow, money is paid directly to their university or college, not to them. Additionally, the same website states that Universities and colleges in Northern Ireland can charge up to £3,575 for tuition fees in academic year 2013/14. Students can get a Tuition Fee Loan to cover the full amount of tuition fees your university or college is charging you, up to a maximum of £3,575.
To conclude, we could say that tuition fees in the UK are higher than in other European countries, but student finance is proposed to EU / UK students, based on some eligible criteria. In this way, everybody can study in a well-respected university in Great Britain. After all, we cannot price education, because it is priceless.
Living costs in the UK
Besides the tuition fees, also living costs are an important aspect when it comes to choose Great Britain for your studies. To give you an idea, this list gives you an overview about average prices of typical needs. Generally speaking, life in big cities such as London is more expensive than in the smaller cities. Depending on your lifestyle you might need something between GBP 600-1000 a month:
- Student accommodation: GBP 300-900 per month
- Loaf of bread (500g): GBP 1
- Milk (1l): GBP 1
- Tomatoes (1kg): GBP 2
- Chicken breast (1kg): GBP 7
- Meal in a cheap restaurant: GBP 10
- Beer in a bar (0,5l): GBP 3
- Beer in a supermarket (0,5l): GBP 1,50