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Funding a degree in the UK

Coming to the UK as a student has many benefits, but there can be high costs and you might need to manage money across multiple countries or regions.

International students at UK universities pay average annual tuition fees of around £12,000, according to Times Higher Education (THE).

But fees are only part of the equation. THE says the average annual cost, including living expenses, is around £24,000. This figure will vary depending on the specific course, university and location.

There may be extra costs to consider on top of this too, such as flights to see family members. To obtain a visa, international students also need to prove they have enough money to support themselves and pay for their course. 

So, how can you best fund a degree in the UK?

Ways to fund your education

When the time comes, it may be possible to work while studying in the UK. This will be subject to the conditions of your visa. Here are some other ways to cover the costs.


If you’re able to start early and can get into the habit of making regular contributions, saving may help you pay for the degree without going into debt. Different savings accounts can have different benefits, so make sure to find the right one for you.


If you’re preparing to fund your child’s degree and still have several years until they’re due to start university, you might want to consider investing. However, while offering the potential for higher returns, investing carries the risk of losses. So, you could get back less than you invested. 

It’s also important to have money set aside for emergencies before you consider investing. Find out more about saving vs investing.


Another option is to borrow money, as long as you're confident you’ll be able to keep up with repayments. 

You can also discuss funding opportunities with universities, the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) or the British Council, if you’re not sure you’ll be able to cover the costs. Some students may be eligible for a scholarship.

What next?

If you’re going to be making regular international payments to a family member, it’s worth thinking about how to make this simple and cost effective. Exactly how much and how often you’ll be transferring money may determine the best way to do it.

An international money transfer gives you the flexibility to transfer a set amount at a set time and at regular intervals. You may also be able to link global accounts with some international banks. For example, HSBC Global View and Global Transfers enables customers to see all their international HSBC accounts in one place and quickly send money between them without a fee.