An introduction to studying in London
I work at a very central London based university, so it is quite common for students to tell us “I can’t apply to study in London because I can’t afford it.” For many students this is actually not the case. Below are a few of the reasons why:
The maintenance loan is bigger for students living away from home and studying in London
There are two major parts to the loan available from Student Finance England, the tuition fee loan and the maintenance loan.
Tuition fees don’t differ at London universities compared to the rest of the UK; tuition fees limits are set by the government and don’t differ nationally. The maintenance loan varies for every student depending on their household income. The higher their household income, the less loan they will get, up to relevant thresholds (this is explained in other blogs). However, the amounts can also differ depending on where they choose to study:
- The maximum maintenance loan for students choosing to stay living at home for 2018 entry is £7,324 per year
- For students living away from home and studying outside of London is £8,700 per year
- For students living way from home studying in London is up to £11,354 per year
It is recognised that the cost of accommodation and living can be more expensive in London, so the maintenance loan is adjusted to allow for that.
Students may be worried that they don’t want to take out the London maintenance loan because their debt will be too big. However, repayments to student loans are based on what the student earns, not how big their loan is, so if they are taking out the student loan anyway it may not make a big difference to them to have the extra amount.
Students can work alongside their degree
Students who need some extra money alongside their loan can work alongside their degree without affecting their loan entitlement. London has a lot of part-time job opportunities due to its size, so students should be able to find a role that will help fund their studies. University careers departments can help students look for part time work.
Not all accommodation at London universities is outrageously priced. Many London universities have a range of accommodation options for students to choose from which vary in price.
Some universities, such as City, University of London, may subsidise their accommodation as part of their efforts to make studying in London more affordable. This means that the amount charged to the student for accommodation is reduced and more in line with universities outside of London.
London is also huge and well connected, so students who choose to live privately have a wide range of options of where to live that will still be within an easy commute to university.
A supermarket meal deal is still £3!
This is what I always tell students when they tell me the cost of living in London is more expensive than elsewhere in the UK; a £3 supermarket meal deal is still that price here!
All students, whether they live in London or not, should be savvy with their money whilst at university. Students studying in London looking to save money should shop in supermarkets and stock up on food rather than eat out, cook batches of food and freeze it so it can be eaten another day, cook with friends to share the cost and make the most of student discounts, just like they would if they studied elsewhere.
London is a tourist destination which means there is a lot of free stuff to do
A huge benefit of being in London is that it’s a tourist destination, which means there are lots of free activities students can do all year round. We are home to the National Gallery and Tate Modern, many museums, parks and gardens, food markets and many other activities which all have free entry. We have festivals celebrating culture all year round and lots of opportunities to make the most of the city. Students should never be short of something to do living in London. This is summarised well by Samuel Johnson: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.
It is true that clubs can be pretty expensive in London, but it’s not true everywhere, and pubs are still free to enter! All big cities have a mix of expensive and cheap clubs, so students should look around for ones that won’t cost them too much.
So in short, students who want to study in London should not be put off by the cost of living here; there are definitely workarounds if we are the city for them! If you or your students have any questions about studying in London, our Schools Liaison team at City, University of London would be happy to help: [email protected]