Leaving home to attend university is one of the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking, experiences many of us will ever have. Whether it’s diving head-first into a subject we’re passionate about or the varied social scene that surrounds university life these are the experiences that can stay with us for life.
However university life is far from cheap in the UK and the money that students are having to spend on their education is growing in magnitude each year. Consequently if you’re considering attending university it’s essential that you gain a fair understanding of the costs associated with student life and start to plan for these well in advance. By doing so you’ll be better able to focus on your studies (as well as enjoying yourself) rather than worrying about how you’re going to make ends meet each month.
It should come as no surprise that universities charge tuition fees to students in order to support the work of the university and ensure you the best possible training. Tuition fees can vary widely between institutions with the more prestigious universities charging considerably more than newer or lesser-known alternatives. In the UK for example, the tuition fees of top universities like Oxford and Cambridge can amount to £9,000 or more per year and it seems likely that these figures could rise even higher over time.
Many students choose not to live at home with their parents when attending university and instead opt for the increased freedom of moving into their own student accommodation. Not surprisingly though moving away from home comes with a number of additional costs. Rent is the biggest consideration of all with recent figures suggesting the average UK student now pays £165 per month with utility bills pushing expenses still higher.
Food and Entertainment
For students living away from home it’s not just housing costs that need to be considered. For example the cost of food has increased by 77% since 2004. In addition it’s important to appreciate that university is just as much about the social side of life as it is about studying so a budget should be set that can be put towards enjoying yourself and making new friends.
Even students who are lucky enough to live close to their place of study will probably want to travel home to see family from time to time. Sadly recent figures suggest that transport costs have increased by 17% in just the last year so while car sharing and student rail cards are helpful cost-reduction tools, if you don’t want to miss out on Christmas at home with your family it’s wise to factor transport into your budget.
Lastly depending on the course you chose a variety of study materials may be required. At the very least you’ll need to invest money in text books and while some universities operate part-exchange schemes, text books can be expensive even when bought second-hand. In addition some courses may require the purchase of other materials such as specialized clothing or even international field trips in order to successfully complete your qualification.
Many people who have attended university claim it was the most enjoyable period of their life. Equally, recent research suggests the costs of attending a UK university are likely to top £20,000 per year in the near future so putting aside money well in advance is one of the best ways to prepare for the ever-rising costs of a good quality education.