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Affordable Cities in UK to Study for International Students: What are Cheapest Cities in UK For International Students?

Yocket Editorial Team
Affordable Cities in UK to Study for International Students: What are Cheapest Cities in UK For International Students? Image

The United Kingdom is recognised for its world-class academic education that attracts international students from across the world. The country is known for its quality education, supporting a unique educational curriculum. With an international population of 605,130, you will find a multicultural environment in every place. Every place in UK has its own unique culture with popular universities. However, when it comes to choosing a university in UK, you need to keep an eye on your finances.

Selecting the best city along with the university is a crucial decision for you. As per the rankings of Best Cities in UK 2023, London definitely holds the records for its desirability and affordability. But it's still not one of the cheapest cities in UK for international students. You will find many places in the UK that are pocket friendly with excellent education equally. Moreover, these cheapest cities universities have low tuition fees and even offer affordable accomodation.

Want to know more? Read this blog as it will guide you with the list of most affordable student cities UK along with the best universities in the place and their tuition fees and cost of living etc.

Table of Contents

What are the Benefits of Studying in the Cheapest Cities in UK?

Students from across the world have long been stepping to study in the United Kingdom. The country is known for its world-class academics, diversity and bustling & affordable student cities, making it one of the great places for higher education. Several cheap cities in the UK provide affordable accomodation with low costs. Some of the benefits of studying in cheapest cities in UK for international students 2022 are:

  • UK Educational Support: You will find plenty of educational support in the UK while pursuing your studies. This might be on online mode, through your university or through the local authority of your place. For instance, many universities in the UK have set up their own office for international students to assist them in different academic-related support.
  • Incredibly Diverse: UK is home to people from different countries and cultures. This shows international students could have the opportunity to learn more about their diverse cultures and make connections with people across the world. Also, while living in different cities, you will likely be able to stay close to their cultures, attend their community events etc.
  • Low Cost of Living: You will also find the cheapest student accommodation UK, as some of its cities are also well known for its affordable housing and low cost of living. Based on the website Numbeo, the cost of living in UK cities is about 40.47% lower than in the USA. Also, the daily expenses like eatables, groceries etc are about 21.11% less. Some of the universities also offer scholarships to international students.

Now that we know some of the benefits of studying in UK. Let's now have a look at the cheapest city to study in UK:

List of Cheapest Cities and States in UK for International Students

Cheapest places to live in UK for students are based on two substantial factors, the tuition fees of their universities and the living expenses incurred in that particular city. Not only are those cities home of some well-reputed universities, but they are also known for offering quality education and great employability rates. To help you familiarise yourself with these cities, here we have curated a list of some affordable cities in UK for international students:

  1. Cardiff
  2. Cambridge
  3. Sheffield
  4. Glasgow
  5. Birmingham
  6. Newcastle Upon Tyne
  7. Manchester
  8. Nottingham

Let's have a look deeper at each of these cheapest student cities UK for students:

1.  Cardiff

Cardiff is an amazing and the cheapest place to live in UK for students. You will find so much to see and do in this friendly city with endless opportunities to meet with the people to share your interests. It is a thriving city with brilliant arts and music scenes. Filled with plenty of international students, it is a compact city where you will find students every 10-minute walk away from the town. Its city centre has some beautiful architecture dating from the twelfth century.

You can feel reassured while living in Cardiff as the city is not too expensive. The average living costs can be somewhere between 187 GBP to 310 GBP per month. Also, Cardiff is the headquarters of many multinational ventures that offer various opportunities to students to take part-time jobs or do internships along with their studies.

A list of top universities in Cardiff City are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

Cardiff University

19,024 GBP

Cardiff Metropolitan University

15,167 GBP

University of Wales

13,110 GBP

2.  Cambridge

Cambridge is one of historical and multicultural yet small vibrant city. The city has a wide variety of socio-cultural activities and events that students can enjoy whilst studying. It is one of the leading tourist destinations where you can find different cultures and individuals at every step. Students may take advantage of a wide range of attractions from museums and art galleries to restaurants and parks in the city. Different faculties, departments and colleges are spread across the city, which can be easily accessible by foot or bikes.

You can expect a minimum housing charge of 150 GBP to 330 GBP per week to stay in the city. Also, the city has one of the most popular university i.e. University of Cambridge. Being a centre of hi-tech Silicon Fen industries, top companies like Google, Microsoft, Sinclair, Jagex are located here.

Top Universities located in Cambridge are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Cambridge

20,460 GBP

Anglia Ruskin University

12,393 GBP

Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts

19,925 GBP

Student Accomodation in London

3.  Sheffield

It is the fifth largest city in UK and big enough to be declared an important economic and cultural spot of the country. The city also enjoys as the cheapest university cities UK because of its comparatively affordable living costs to other student cities. Considered the best student cities for business in UK, the city has many performing industries such as manufacturing, energy production, coal mining, steel production etc.

According to the student living index 2022 by NatWest, Sheffield ranked as the 3rd most affordable city in UK. Facilities like travel, food, accomodation and entertainment are affordable here, with an easy to roam around the city on foot. The average housing cost in Sheffield is 130.05 GBP per week which could go up to 1,110 GBP monthly with other expenses.

Some of the top universities in Sheffield are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Sheffield

22,248 GBP

Sheffield Hallam University

14,825 GBP

Sheffield College

13,590 GBP

4.  Glasgow

Glasgow is another cheapest cities in UK for students. The city is growing rapidly, achieving more and bursting energy and inspiration. With an international population of more than 20,000 you can find many local businesses, services and nightlife venues in Glasgow offering promotions and discounts. The universities of Glasgow are well equipped to assist their students in the city.

Glasgow is considered as the cheapest student accommodation UK. To plan out a budget for your time in Glasgow, you can expect a cost of 9,700 GBP to 13,263 GBP per year to live and study in the city. However, it could be more or less, based on the factors like your accommodation choice and your lifestyle.

Some of the best universities of Glasgow are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Glasgow

20,387 GBP

University of Strathclyde

19,934 GBP

Glasgow Caledonian University

15,600 GBP

UK Universities for Masters

5.  Birmingham

Birmingham offers chances to live and work in the youngest major city in UK. The city is popular for its world class restaurants, entertainment and shops. Home to more than one million people of a variety of cultures and ethnic groups, Birmingham's 25 percent of the total population is 25 and younger. If you love sports, the city has many top stadiums like the world famous Edgbaston cricket ground, historical golf course etc.

This city is also known to offer a supportive environment for innovative business initiatives for growth of economy and business growth. Many international ventures like Jaguar Land Rover, BBVA Compass offer opportunities to graduates. Also, the average cost of living in Birmingham can vary between 4,753 GBP to 6,079 GBP annually.

A list of some top universities in Birmingham are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Birmingham

19,188 GBP

Aston University

17,237 GBP

Birmingham City University

16,646 GBP

6.  Newcastle Upon Tyne

Newcastle Upon Tyne is listed among the top 10 Best UK Student City in the Students Hub league table, published in 2022. Also, the city has witnessed growing culture, regularly hailed as the best city for students. This is partly because of the city's compactness, making it large enough to be vibrant and exciting while being small enough to feel at home. It is also because of the countless number of students, as everyone in the six people in the city is a student.

Considering the cost of living in the city, your living costs may cover expenses like food, travel, accomodation and study materials. The average cost of living in the city for an international student is around 9,752.79 GBP per month.

Top universities in Newcastle Upon Tyne are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

Newcastle University

26,137 GBP

Northumbria University

22,882 GBP

Newcastle College

18,114 GBP

Scholarships in UK

7.  Manchester

Manchester City is definitely a budget-centric area to live in, offering you to enjoy some of the cheapest transportation costs in the UK. The city greatly offers social activities and a number of choices when it comes to filling some food cupboards. With an international population of over 19,000 the city is famed for its welcoming style and vibrant cultural scene. It has a striking cultural architecture with a rich heritage and a prestigious Russell group university.

The city also offers an array of job opportunities and internships to students across the city. Google, BBC, Adidas, and Siemens are some of the biggest companies and brands you find in Manchester. The cost of staying often is your largest cost, estimated to be around 277 GBP per month. You can expect to spend 346 GBP to 546 GBP to live in Manchester.

Some of the top universities in Manchester are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Manchester

21,239 GBP

University of Salford

16,462 GBP

University of Bolton

13,003 GBP

8.  Nottingham

Nottingham has the largest student population, among the most vibrant cities in UK. No matter your taste or budget, the city has something for everyone. You will never be short of seeing things like theatres, museums, art galleries, arthouse cinemas, music festivals and venues in the city. The popular industries of Nottingham city include digital media, financial and business services, life sciences and retail.

The universities in Nottingham have developed and collaborated with local companies, encouraging their students to gain work experience for future career opportunities. The total cost you can expect to live in the city ranges between 990 GBP to 1,250 GBP per month.

A list of top universities in Nottingham are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

The University of Nottingham

21,672 GBP

Nottingham Trent University

14,044 GBP

Nottingham College

15,821 GBP

Student Life in UK

Post completing higher education, UK offers a lot of career opportunities to students. However, one of the most difficult things an international student has to go through is to decide which are the cheapest cities in UK for international students to pursue education. So analyze the information above and make the best choice. For further guidance and assistance, connect with our Yocket Counsellors.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cheapest Cities in UK for International Students

Ques. How affordable is the cost of living in UK cities?

Ans. The living costs in UK in any of its cities may depend on the housing facilities in their city. Many cities provide affordable study facilities to students.

Ques. Which is the cheapest cities in UK for international students 2022?

Ans. According to NatWest research 2021, Sheffield is one of the most affordable cities in the UK with about 60% green space in the city. The city is also known for offering the most affordable education and leisure experience for international students.

Ques. Which part of UK has the cheapest rent?

Ans. As per the Zooming local authority, one of the cheapest places to rent a house in the UK is Hartlepool in the Northwest region, with an average home cost of around 500 GBP per month.

Ques. Is Cardiff cheap for international students?

Ans. The tuition fees at the universities of Cardiff City for incoming international students range between 15,380 GBP to 27,600 GBP. With these affordable rates, you can expect a good quality education without breaking the wall of your bank.

Ques. What is the average cost of living in UK?

Ans. The average monthly rent is around 876 in the town and 650 GBP outside the city along with an average utility bill cost of 168 GBP. The local transportation is also cheaper in some cities given above, and you can also get a monthly pass of 75 GBP to travel within the city.

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