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5 Best Affordable Universities in UK for International students


For decades, the United Kingdom has remained a premier choice for international students seeking a top-notch education. The UK’s allure lies in its rich cultural heritage, renowned institutions, and diverse communities. From the cobblestone streets steeped in history to the cutting-edge research facilities, the UK offers a distinctive and enriching experience for students worldwide. However, amidst the appeal, the financial aspect of education often looms large, causing prospective students to worry about the cost of their academic journey. This article aims to ease these concerns by exploring affordable universities in the UK, providing valuable insights to help international students realise their academic dreams without breaking their banks.

Why Study in the UK?

Before delving into the affordable options, it’s crucial to understand why the UK remains a top choice for international students. Studying in the United Kingdom is a choice that opens doors to a world of opportunities and experiences. The UK has a rich educational heritage and is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities. Here are several compelling reasons why international students should consider studying in the UK:

  1. Academic excellence - Academic excellence is highly regarded in the UK. Many of its colleges frequently rank among the best in the world. Universities with prestigious academic reputations and outstanding faculty include the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and University College London.
  2. Diverse Range of Courses - UK universities offer an extensive variety of courses, catering to almost every field of study imaginable. Whether you are interested in traditional subjects like history and literature or cutting-edge fields such as artificial intelligence and nanotechnology, you can find specialised programs tailored to your interests and career goals.
  3. Research Opportunities - The UK is a hub for cutting-edge research. Many breakthroughs and discoveries across various fields have originated from research conducted in British universities. Studying in the UK allows students to engage with pioneering research, work with leading experts, and contribute to advancements in their chosen fields.
  4. Quality of Education - UK universities maintain strict quality standards. Higher education institutions are regularly assessed to ensure that they meet specific criteria related to teaching, research, facilities, and student support services. This ensures that students receive a high-quality education that is recognized and respected worldwide.
  5. Cultural Diversity - The UK is a melting pot of cultures. Studying here provides students with the opportunity to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. This exposure enhances cultural understanding, tolerance, and global awareness, preparing students for a multicultural world.
  6. Language of Instruction - English is the primary language of instruction in UK universities. For non-native English speakers, studying in an English-speaking country provides an immersive environment to enhance language skills. Proficiency in English is a valuable asset in the global job market.
  7. Work Opportunities - The UK offers excellent work opportunities for international students. During their studies, students are typically allowed to work part-time, enabling them to gain practical experience and supplement their finances. After graduation, there are various visa options, such as the Post-Study Work Visa (PSW), that allow international graduates to work, seek employment, or start their own businesses in the UK.
  8. Cultural and Historical Significance - The UK boasts a rich cultural and historical heritage. Students have the opportunity to explore historic landmarks, museums, art galleries, and theatres. Engaging with the country’s cultural offerings enhances the overall student experience.
  9. Networking Opportunities - Studying in the UK provides ample networking opportunities. Students can connect with peers, professors, and professionals in their field, building valuable relationships that can open doors to future collaborations and career prospects.
  10. Global Perspective - UK education encourages critical thinking, independent research, and a global perspective. Students are exposed to diverse viewpoints and are encouraged to challenge and broaden their understanding of the world. This holistic approach prepares graduates to be well-informed, open-minded, and adaptable individuals.

Affordable or Cheapest Universities in the UK: A Viable Option

While tuition fees can be high, there are several top-notch universities in UK that offer affordable education without compromising on quality. Here are a few institutions that provide excellent education at a reasonable cost:

1. University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

Location: Preston, Lancashire

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is a vibrant institution known for its diverse and inclusive student community. UCLan offers a wide array of programs ranging from arts and humanities to sciences and engineering. The university is particularly acclaimed for its emphasis on practical learning and real-world applications of knowledge. Students at UCLan benefit from state-of-the-art facilities, modern campuses, and a supportive academic environment.

UCLan’s commitment to research and innovation is reflected in its various research centres and collaborations with industry partners. Additionally, the university's strong focus on employability ensures that students are well-prepared for their future careers. The campus itself is located in the heart of Preston, providing students with access to a vibrant city life and numerous recreational activities.

  • World University Rankings: While UCLan isn't consistently among the top global universities, it remains a notable institution.
  • International Students: UCLan hosts over 5,000 international students, making it a diverse academic community.
  • Tuition Fees: On average, international students can expect to pay approximately £12,000 to £16,000 per year.
  • Popular Courses: Notable programs include business, science, engineering, and the arts.

 [Read More: How to Study in UK after 12th for Indian Students?]

2. University of Sunderland

Location: Sunderland (main campus), London, Hong Kong

The University of Sunderland is renowned for its excellent teaching quality and focus on practical skills. With its main campus located in Sunderland and additional campuses in London and Hong Kong, the university offers a diverse range of programs catering to various fields of study. Sunderland is particularly known for its strong emphasis on employability, with many programs designed in collaboration with industry professionals.

The university’s commitment to research and development is evident through its research centres and initiatives aimed at addressing real-world challenges. Sunderland's campuses are equipped with modern facilities, libraries, and laboratories, providing students with the resources they need to succeed academically.

(Read More: What is the cost of living in the UK for foreign nationals?)

  • World University Rankings: The University of Sunderland, though not a global frontrunner, offers quality education.
  • International Students: The university boasts a diverse population with more than 4,000 international students.
  • Tuition Fees: International students typically pay around £10,000 to £14,000 annually.
  • Popular Courses: Business, health and social care, engineering, and computing are favored areas of study.

3. Buckinghamshire New University

Location: High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire New University, often referred to as Bucks, is recognized for its practical and career-focused approach to education. The university offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs designed to prepare students for the professional world. Bucks is known for its small class sizes, allowing for personalised attention and interactive learning experiences.

The university’s emphasis on industry links means that students often engage in practical projects, internships, and work placements, gaining valuable hands-on experience. The campus in High Wycombe provides a picturesque setting, creating a conducive environment for learning and personal growth.

  • World University Rankings: While not consistently featured in global rankings, the university offers valuable education in various courses like computer science in the UK.
  • International Students: The university welcomes around 1,500 international students, contributing to a diverse academic environment.
  • Tuition Fees: On average, international students can expect to pay approximately £10,000 to £12,000 per year.
  • Popular Courses: Popular choices include business, nursing, and creative arts.

4. Staffordshire University

Location: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Staffordshire University is a forward-thinking institution known for its commitment to innovation and creativity. The university offers a diverse range of programs in engineering, arts, business, and sciences. Staffordshire’s focus on research-led teaching ensures that students are exposed to cutting-edge knowledge and developments in their respective fields.

One of the key strengths of Staffordshire University is its strong links with industry, fostering collaborations and partnerships that benefit students in terms of internships, research projects, and networking opportunities. The campus in Stoke-on-Trent is equipped with modern facilities, including laboratories, studios, and collaborative spaces, enhancing the overall learning experience.

  • World University Rankings: Staffordshire University is recognized for its quality education system in the UK, even if it's not among the top global institutions.
  • International Students: The University hosts more than 2,000 international students, fostering cultural diversity.
  • Tuition Fees: International students typically pay around £11,000 to £13,000 annually.
  • Popular Courses: Staffordshire University is known for its computer science, engineering, and business programs.

5. Teesside University

Location: Middlesbrough, Tees Valley

Teesside University is a dynamic and ambitious institution known for its emphasis on research, innovation, and employability. The university offers a diverse range of programs in areas such as engineering, health, computing, and business. Teesside is recognized for its strong connections with industry, ensuring that students receive practical insights and real-world skills relevant to their chosen fields.

The university’s commitment to research and enterprise is demonstrated through its research centres and initiatives that tackle global challenges. Teesside’s campus in Middlesbrough provides a stimulating environment for learning, with cutting-edge facilities and a supportive academic community.

  • World University Rankings: Teesside University may not be in the global top rankings, but it's known for quality education.
  • International Students: The university has a diverse community with over 2,500 international students.
  • Tuition Fees: International students can expect to pay approximately £11,000 to £14,000 per year on average.
  • Popular Courses: Teesside University is recognized for programs in health and life sciences, engineering, and business.

(Read More: Canada vs. UK: Which is the better study abroad destination?)

Top 5 Affordable Universities in London for International Students:

International students have long wanted to go to London because of its long past, lively culture, and top-notch schools. Still, the city's image for being more expensive than many other places to study abroad can be scary.

Don't worry, though—we've put together a list of the most affordable universities in London, so you can make your dream of going to school in this famous city come true. These schools offer good education at low costs, which makes London a good option for kids from all over the world.

University World Universities Ranking 2022 Average Tuition Fee/ year Popular Programs

University of East London



BA (Hons) Fashion Textile Design

MA Business Management

BA (Hons) Psychology

London Metropolitan University



BA (Hons) Accounting

BA (Hons) Law

BA (Hons) Architecture

University of Greenwich



BSc (Hons) Accountancy and Marketing

MA Design

MSc Data Science

Middlesex University



MSc Visual Analytics

MSc Data Science

BA Business Management

University of Westminster



Master of Architecture

MEng Software Engineering



1. Are scholarships available for international students in these affordable universities?

A: Yes, many of the UK universities offer scholarships and grants specifically designed for international students. It's essential to research and apply for these opportunities during the application process.

2. Is the quality of education compromised in affordable universities?

A: No, the quality of education is not compromised in affordable universities. These institutions often focus on practical, industry-relevant skills and provide excellent support services for students.

3. Can international students work while studying in the UK?

A: Yes, international students in the UK are generally allowed to work part-time during term time and full-time during vacations. This can help students support themselves financially while gaining valuable work experience.

4. What is the cost of living for international students in the UK?

A: The cost of living varies depending on the location and lifestyle choices. On average, international students should budget around £12,000 to £15,000 per year for living expenses, including accommodation, food, transport, and other necessities.

5. How can international students apply for student visas in the UK?

A: International students can apply for a UK student visa through the official government website. The application process typically requires proof of acceptance from a UK university, financial documents, and other necessary paperwork.


Studying in the UK can be a life-changing experience for international students, offering not only quality education but also exposure to diverse cultures and opportunities. While the cost of education is a valid concern, there are affordable options available, allowing students to achieve their academic goals without accumulating a massive financial burden.

By choosing universities like UCLan, University of Sunderland, Buckinghamshire New University, Staffordshire University, or Teesside University, international students can strike a balance between affordability and quality education. Additionally, exploring scholarships and part-time work opportunities can further ease the financial strain.

Frequently Asked Questions

The common notion is that foreign universities are expensive, although with scholarships this is an exaggerated issue. What many fail to consider are time and effort. Studying in an Indian college leads to a lower average salary than earned by our western counterparts. This salary sets the tone for all future promotions since companies often look at your previous salaries during compensation appraisals. Additionally, most senior positions tend to be scooped up by individuals who have an international outlook through global exposure.  Finally, studying in a foreign country is an incredible learning experience helping students get a better academic as well as soft skill development.

Canada has been one of the market leaders in education for decades. However, what currently sets Maple Country apart is immigration. Canada is wholeheartedly inviting students to study in their universities to fill job vacancies that are always growing in the country. Students who study in Canada (especially a Master’s Degree) are practically assured of a Permanent Residency Visa.

A good score doesn’t automatically qualify a candidate for a scholarship, however, it is one of the primary factors that the admissions department looks for in a scholarship application. There are other attributes such as a candidate’s academics, extra-curricular, financial background, and application essays (SOPs).

We get this question a lot. Many candidates know which career path they want to take, but are at a loss for how to take that journey. Understanding the job role and the industry that you want to get into is the first step to picking the right university.

Carefully consider the immigration options of the country that the university that you are considering is in. This is more important when you intend to stay back in the country after the completion of your course.

Also, review the placement history of the university as well.

The first step is to list your preferences. By listing your preferences and strengths, describe your course of preference. Extensive research on the modules, software and its length for your preferred subject is necessary.


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