Planning to send your child to study in the UK? Here’s what you need to know

The financial implications of studying in the UK

The UK is one of the most popular destinations for international students, and it’s not difficult to observe why.

  • The UK is home to some of the top universities in the world 
  • Its universities are found in vibrant culturally diverse settings 
  • Many of the worlds business and political leaders have studied in the UK 
  • The UK is home to some of the world’s best universities including Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews and London School of Economics
  • The UK welcomes hundreds of thousands of students each year from all over the world

Many expat parents have aspirations to send their children to UK universities. Living overseas can have many unforeseen ramifications. One of which, for many parents, is the realisation that due to their non-resident status, their children are often classified as international students by UK universities. Because of this, they are often stung with international student fees. International students are normally unable to secure student loans for fees which are often treble what a home student will pay. 

This blog will cover:

  • The price of UK tuition fees for international students 
  • A comparison between UK international student fees and the rest of the world 
  • The employability advantages of studying in the UK 

In the 2018/19 academic year, UK tuition fees for international students studying at undergraduate level ranged from £9,000 to £26,000. For students studying medicine or other lab-based degrees, the fee rose to an eye-watering £58,000. The average fee charged was £17,523 per annum

*All figures sourced from the Reddin Survey of University Tuition Fees 2018/19.

For parents wishing to send their children to a UK university, paying international student fees is an important consideration. Home students are able to take loans from the UK governments Student Loans Company. International students are not afforded this option and, as such, are asked to pay the fees upfront. Without planning, this fee can often sadly be unaffordable.

Living costs are also an important factor with students requiring a minimum of £1,015 (£1,265 if you’re based in London) for each month of study up to nine months.

A further consideration of fee planning is inflation. UK living costs increase on average by 3% per annum and UK tuition fees increase on average by 7% per annum.

Fees for different universities and different courses vary. For parents, this poses a planning consideration. As most children are unsure, firstly, if they wish to attend university and, secondly, what they would want to study, it can be difficult to predict future tuition fees. In such cases, it’s beneficial to plan for all possibilities. For your children’s education, it’s always better to save too much rather than too little.

A comparison between UK international tuition fees and the rest of the world

If your aim is to keep costs low, the UK might not be your best option. In a recent study, the UK was ranked as the fourth most expensive place to study in the world.



Annual university costs (GBP)

Annual cost of living (GBP)

Annual total cost (GBP)





















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There is a clear correlation between universities found in English speaking countries and their cost. This often translates into a high demand by employers for students who have studied in such places.

Holding a degree from one of these countries has been seen to serve graduates well.

The graph below shows the top universities in the world in terms of their post-graduate employability ranking.

Graduate Employability Rankings 2020

Studying in any of these top four countries comes with a significant price tag for international students. However, when compared to studying locally, it often offers a far greater reward for students.

Investing in your children’s future is one of the most important and fulfilling things you can do as a parent. In order for your child to enjoy the best start in life, it’s important for parents to start planning early. If you would like assistance in your planning, please head to deVere Insight’s Future Family Finance page to be put in touch with a specialist.

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deVere Insights is a proud component of the deVere Group. Our company has always prided itself on leading the way in the sphere of wealth management. This website is in place to share information and expertise.

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