Financial Help for International Students
Overseas students coming to study for a higher education course are not necessarily eligible for the same financial help as home students. However, it may be possible to receive some help.
This article will look at some of the costs that international students are likely to incur and some of the sources of financial help available to them.
Studying in the UK: The costs
For most international students, the tuition fee rates will be higher than the standard ones charged to UK students. Whether students pay the standard rate or the international rate depends on whether they are classed as what are called a ‘home’ student or an ‘international’ student.
For students classed as ‘home’ students tuition fees usually cost around £3,000 per year and (to be reviewed in 2009), the rates on what universities can charge are capped. However, universities can charge international students what they like. The exact charges vary from university to university but they can be up to a whopping £18,000 per year.
There are exceptions but generally speaking home students are those from the UK, or from an EU or EEA country. Overseas students outside the ‘home’ categories are liable for the international rate.
On top of tuition fees, there are of course accommodation costs and day-to-day living expenses to be accounted for. There may also be other costs which are particular to international students, such as:
- International travel costs to get to the UK and to visit home
- Visa application fee
Help for international students
EU and EEA students classed as ‘home’ students can in fact apply for some of the standard financial package which all UK students are entitled to.
International students, however, can’t usually apply for these grants and loans. With this in mind it’s important for international students to assess whether they are in a financial position to study in the UK. It’s also worth students investigating any financial support that may be available in their home country to help them study abroad.
There are a limited amount of grants and scholarships which are aimed at international students. Obviously the competition for these awards is usually very stiff.
To find out about scholarships and bursaries for international students, look on the British Council website.
Working in the UK as an international student
One way to help fund study in the UK from abroad is by undertaking part-time work alongside study. However, it’s important to know your working rights before starting any work.
Students from European Union and EEA countries can work in the UK in the same way as home students.
For other students, their ability to work depends on their visa. When any international student has received their visa, information about working restrictions should have been made clear. However, if there is any doubt it’s always best to check with a university advisor first. Most universities now employ staff to exclusively provide information and assistance to international students.
For international students whose visa does allow them to work, there are still usually restrictions so it’s important to clarify exactly what these are before undertaking any work.
Studying in the UK from abroad is not cheap. It's important that international students collate all the financial facts, about expenses and help, so that they can make a decision on whether it's something they can afford.