UCL in Pictures

First-year Ancient World student (Classical World)

Currently around 25% of UCL's undergraduates spend a period of time studying abroad

Living expenses and budget tips

Living Expenses

How much you should budget for your living and day-to-day expenses while you are studying will vary according to your personal needs and wants. A total of around £245 per week is considered to be a reasonable average for about a 37-week year (which includes the 30-week UCL academic year plus Christmas and Easter vacations).

As a guide, for a first-year student living in a UCL Hall of Residence the cost per week of the main items will be around:

  • £110 for accommodation
  • £50 for housekeeping (food, toiletries etc)
  • £50 for entertainment
  • £10 for travel
  • £10 for books/equipment
  • £5 for insurance/TV licence
  • £10 for clothes.

Students on some programmes will incur some additional costs. For example, Architecture students will need funds to cover drawing equipment and materials, and field trips. Fine Art students will need to cover the cost of their artists’ materials. If the issue of possible additional costs concerns you, please do not hesitate to contact the department in which you are interested for more details.

If you're travelling from outside the UK to study at UCL, you may have limits on what you can bring with you and should allow for some additional costs on arrival.

Budget tips


While eating at the many food outlets on campus and in the Students' Union is a cheap and varied option there are also many small inexpensive restaurants in the vicinity of UCL and Halls of Residence offering special deals, particularly at lunchtime. For those who want to cook for themselves there are nearby branches of the major supermarkets.


As a student in London, you can benefit from the Transport for London/National Rail Student Oyster photocard scheme. This offers 30% off all adult travelcards and bus passes valid for more than a week. See http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14312.aspx


You won't need to buy all the books on your reading list. UCL's libraries hold around two million books and the nearby University of London Library a further two million. You may be able to buy books from second- and third-year students on your degree programme. There are various second-hand bookshops near to UCL and some high-street chains, such as Waterstone’s, offer a student discount.


UCL Union organises a wide programme of events at reasonable prices and you may be able to catch your favourite bands at the regular gigs held at ULU, one of London's major music venues.


  • No interest is payable on a Student Loan, but the amount outstanding is up rated each year in line with inflation, currently around 2.5%.
  • Credit cards can be a useful means of managing your budget, but be sure to pay them off as they can be an expensive form of borrowing.
  • Look for the most competitive student bank account paying the highest interest rate when you have money in your account and with a fee-free overdraft facility
  • Many high street shops, restaurants, cinemas, sports centres, museums and art galleries offer students discounts on production of a valid student ID card or NUS Extra card

Page last modified on 26 apr 12 10:39