Your living expenses will depend on your choices and although London can be expensive, there are opportunities to get the best out of London on a limited budget.

You need to ensure that you have sufficient funds for your fees and that you have enough money for accommodation, food, travel, books and other living expenses.

The tabs below are for guideline only as living costs will vary according to your own circumstances and lifestyle. 

Living Expenses for Students from the UK

This page is currently being updated, although most links are up-to-date some details are still under construction! Please bear with us whilst this work is done.

Help with calculating your living expenses

Further Information and Useful Links ·        

Living Expenses for International Students

This page is currently being updated, although most links are up-to-date some details are still under construction! Please bear with us whilst this work is done.

How much does it cost to attend university as an international student?

Students should assume that the estimated living expenses given below represent a guide to the sum required to live in reasonable comfort in London.

  • Average expenditure for London for Single student is: £13,388 to £20,900
  • Couples: £16,178 to £25,400      

    As part of visa requirements, if you are a non-EEA student you must ensure that you have sufficient funds for fees and maintenance for your whole period of study.

    The following breakdown of costs are designed to give some idea of how to meet basic living expenses such as accommodation, food, travel, books and other necessities. This figure is given as a guide only. The amount you actually spend will depend on your personal lifestyle.

    Help with calculating your living expenses

    Cost of pets

    If you intend to own pets whilst studying, this often proves more expensive than students realise. There is not only the cost of bringing them to the UK, or buying them here, and their upkeep to consider. You may be faced with big veterinary bills, and costs for someone to look after your pet when you go on placements or home for holidays. Also, owning a pet will limit your accommodation choices, both in terms of suitable properties (you may need a garden) and potential housemates, resulting in greater costs. American students should note their loans do not cover pet related expenses, or more expensive accommodation as the result of it being pet friendly.

    Further information

    • One of our current North American students has written a short piece about her experiences of studying at the RVC and life in London - see Inga Jensen's Student Profile
    • UNIAID is a student finance charity which aims to help students cope with their finances. They have set up an International Student Calculator to help students plan and manage their finances for study in the UK.
    • The London Student Housing Guide offers advice and guidance. It can be obtained in paper form on campus or can be downloaded from
    • A guide to London Rents, this is a very useful link please see London Rents map
    • The London Conference on Overseas Students gives details of hostels for students in addition to publishing an annual A-Z Guide for International Students in London.
    • Student Oyster Photo cards can give you a 30 per cent discount on travel within London on trains, underground, buses and the London Docklands Light Railway. Information on travel fares can be found on the Transport for London website

    Other useful websites

    Living Expenses Fundable by Direct Loans for US Students

    The College follows the guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education regarding what are allowable living expenses when funded by a Direct Loan. We apply the same criteria for private loans as well.

    We determine a Cost of Attendance or each academic year. This is the maximum amount you can borrow to cover tuition fees and living expenses. Your cost of attendance will depend on what course and year you will be on and the type of accommodation you will be living in. Each year we produce a Cost of Attendance Calculator, which you use to determine your budget (the amount you wish to borrow). This is published in May, and you must submit your budget when applying for loans.

    Cost of Attendance (COA) General Principles

    • You are only allowed to claim living costs for your period of study, i.e. the academic year. The only exception to this is where renting private accommodation, where it is recognized you will be tied into a 12 month contract. Your course disbursement dates show the period your loan covers.
    • Federal law allows the loans to be used for tuition fees, accommodation, utility bills (including phone/broadband), food, laundry and clothing, entertainment, transport including airfares, course costs (books, supplies, equipment), professional registration costs (NAVLE, RVCS), loan origination fees, dependent care and an allowance to assist with any disability. Occasionally costs outside of these categories are approved when they are a valid study expense.
    • You cannot use your loan to support a partner. We recognize that you might want to get a place of your own, and you should be able to afford that within the budget we have allow, but they should be paying for half of the rent and other costs
    • You cannot use your loan to pay off other loans you may have.
    • The cost of pet care is not an allowable additional expense, it must be funded from your entertainment budget. We will not approve extra accommodation expenses as a result of pet ownership.
    • Private medical insurance or costs.
    • Travel and associated costs for job interviews are not allowable.
    • It doesn’t matter if you exceed the amount approved in any budget category, as long as your total budget does not exceed your COA. If your budget exceeds your COA, you should explain why in the box provided on the COA Budget worksheet, and apply for the amount you want. We will be able to approve your budget if you give a reasonable justification and it is an allowable cost. If we have concerns, we will raise them with you.

    See Living Expenses for International Students for detailed information on likely living costs.

    Course Related Costs

    Top of page