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Top 8 Affordable Cities in the UK for International Students 2024

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Sumeet Jain
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Looking for affordable cities in the UK for international students? The United Kingdom is the answer!
The UK is a popular destination for international students, offering world-class education and a vibrant multicultural environment. 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 the UK has its own unique culture with popular universities. However, when it comes to choosing a university in the UK, you need to keep an eye on your finances.

Selecting the best city and the university is a crucial decision for you. As per the rankings of Best Cities in the UK 2024, London holds the records for its desirability and affordability. But it's still not one of the cheapest cities in the 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 accommodation.

Connect with Yocket’s expert counselors to get personalized guidance on choosing the best affordable student city in the UK for you. In the last 8 years, more than a million students have been a part of the Yocket family, and today you can too! Join us to find the best universities and programs in the UK that fit your budget and career goals.

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

Students from across the world have long been stepping in 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 accommodation at low costs. Some of the benefits of studying in the cheapest cities in the UK for international students in 2024 are:

  • UK Educational Support: You will find plenty of educational support in the UK while pursuing your studies. This might be online mode, through your university, or 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 with different academic-related support.
  • Incredibly Diverse: The 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 their 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.

Find the best universities and programs in the UK that fit your budget and career goals. Explore Yocket Premium today and start your journey to an affordable and rewarding education in the UK!

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 in the UK for International Students

The cheapest places to live in the 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 to 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 is a list of some affordable cities in the UK for international students:

  • Cardiff
  • Cambridge
  • Sheffield
  • Glasgow
  • Birmingham
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Manchester
  • 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 the 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 center 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 GBP 187 (INR 19,150) to GBP 310 (INR 31,746) 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

GBP 19,024 (INR 19,48,236)

Cardiff Metropolitan University

GBP 15,167 (INR 15,53,243)

University of Wales

GBP 13,110 (INR 13,42,587)

2. Cambridge

Cambridge is 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 bike.

You can expect a minimum housing charge of GBP 150 (INR 15,361) to GBP 330 (INR 33,795) per week to stay in the city. Also, the city has one of the most popular universities i.e. University of Cambridge. Being a center of hi-tech Silicon Fen industries, top companies like Google, Microsoft, Sinclair, and Jagex are located here.

The top Universities located in Cambridge are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Cambridge

GBP 20,460 (INR 20,95,296)

Anglia Ruskin University

GBP 12,393 (INR 12,69,159)

Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts

GBP 19,925 (INR 20,40,507)

Suggested: Student Accommodation in London

3. Sheffield

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

According to the Student Living Index 2023 by NatWest, Sheffield ranked as the 3rd most affordable city in the UK. Facilities like travel, food, accommodation, and entertainment are affordable here, with an easy to roam around the city on foot. The average housing cost in Sheffield is GBP 130.05 (INR 13,318) per week which could go up to GBP 1,110 (INR 1,13,674) monthly with other expenses.

Some of the top universities in Sheffield are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Sheffield

GBP 22,248 (INR 22,78,404)

Sheffield Hallam University

GBP 14,825 (INR 15,18,219)

Sheffield College

GBP 13,590 (INR 13,91,743)

Find the best universities in the cheapest cities in the UK, that suit YOU. Invest in your future - but first, look up and compare the universities to find your best fit. Click here to explore our completely AI-based tool, Yocket College Finder

4. Glasgow

Glasgow is another cheapest city in the UK for students. The city is growing rapidly, achieving more and bursting with 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 the cheapest student accommodation in the UK. To plan out a budget for your time in Glasgow, you can expect a cost of GBP 9,700 (INR 9,93,371) to GBP 13,263 (INR 13,58,256) 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 lifestyle.

Some of the best universities in Glasgow are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Glasgow

GBP 20,387 (INR 20,87,820)

University of Strathclyde

GBP 19,934 (INR 20,41,429)

Glasgow Caledonian University

GBP 15,600 (INR 15,97,586)

Suggested: UK Universities for Masters

5. Birmingham

Birmingham offers chances to live and work in the youngest major city in the 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 the growth of the economy and business growth. Many international ventures like Jaguar Land Rover, and BBVA Compass offer opportunities to graduates. Also, the average cost of living in Birmingham can vary between GBP 4,753 (INR 4,86,751) to GBP 6,079 (INR 6,22,546) annually.

A list of some top universities in Birmingham are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Birmingham

GBP 19,188 (INR 19,65,031)

Aston University

GBP 17,237 (INR 17,65,231)

Birmingham City University

GBP 16,646 (INR 17,04,707)

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 2023. Also, the city has witnessed a 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, accommodation, and study materials. The average cost of living in the city for an international student is around GBP 9,752.79 (INR 9,98,696) per month.

The top universities in Newcastle Upon Tyne are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

Newcastle University

GBP 26,137 (INR 26,76,674)

Northumbria University

GBP 22,882 (INR 23,43,332)

Newcastle College

GBP 18,114 (INR 18,55,044)

Suggested: Scholarships in the UK

7. Manchester

Manchester City is 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 several 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 GBP 277 (INR 28,367) per month. You can expect to spend GBP 346 (INR 35,433) to GBP 546 (INR 55,915) to live in Manchester.

Some of the top universities in Manchester are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

University of Manchester

GBP 21,239 (INR 21,75,073)

University of Salford

GBP 16,462 (INR 16,85,863)

University of Bolton

GBP 13,003 (INR 13,31,629)

8. Nottingham

Nottingham has the largest student population, among the most vibrant cities in the 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 Nottingham ranges between GBP 990 (INR 1,01,385) to GBP 1,250 (INR 1,28,011) per month.

A list of top universities in Nottingham are:

University Name

Average Annual Fees

The University of Nottingham

GBP 21,672 (INR 22,19,416)

Nottingham Trent University

GBP 14,044 (INR 14,38,237)

Nottingham College

GBP 15,821 (INR 16,20,219)

Suggested: Student Life in UK

How Can I Apply?

The PhD, postgraduate, and undergraduate application processes at UK institutions vary somewhat from those at other universities throughout the globe. 

  • Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, or UCAS, handles undergraduate admissions. Direct applications are also accepted in some circumstances. 
  • You must register and complete your application on the UCAS website to do this.
  • While certain institutions, like the University of Brighton or the University of St Andrews, even allow direct applications from students, the majority of UK universities only accept applications that have been confirmed by UCAS. 
  • PG and PhD candidates can apply to the university directly.

From the Desk of Yocket

The UK is known for its high-quality education, but it can be expensive. If you're looking for a more affordable option, consider studying in one of the UK's many pocket-friendly student cities. These cities offer low tuition fees and affordable accommodation, as well as a variety of student-friendly amenities and activities. Post completing higher education, the 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 the UK for international students to pursue education.

It's not too late for 2024! Apply with Yocket now and grab your seats for the affordable student cities in the UK in 2024. With Yocket, you can find the best universities and programs in the UK that fit your budget and career goals. Get personalized guidance from our experts on choosing the best affordable student city in the UK for you. Don't miss out on this opportunity to study in the UK at an affordable price. Apply with Yocket today!

Frequently Asked Questions About Cheapest Cities in UK for International Students

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