Living costs and working in the UK

Cost of living

It is important to budget your living costs as part of your plan to study at University of Highland and islands. It is hard to predict exact cost of living, it mainly depends on your spending habits, the accommodation you select and other general expenses such as food, clothes and any other leisure activity.

The table below provides an estimated average monthly cost of living in 2013/14:

Accommodation £350 - 450
Food and toiletries £200 - 300
Mobile phone £30 - 50
Public transport £30 - 50

Many students decide to take part time work, the earnings could be used towards paying monthly bills. However, it could take 3-5 months to find a suitable job, therefore, you must have immediate access to funds to cover the cost of living while studying at the University.

While the cost of private accommodation in the Highlands and Islands is often lower than cities in the UK, other living costs may be higher than in your own country. The British Council and StudyUK offer guidelines for working out the cost of living in the UK, and what this means in your own currency. We have listed average price of some of the most commonly purchased items to give you an idea of the price difference from you country:

Milk 2 litres for £1.00
Bread 1 loaf for £1.50
Butter 50g for £1.00
Petrol 1 litre for £1.35
Eggs 12 for £2.00

You can also use one of the newest international students online calculator that will help you estimating costs of studying in the UK.

Health care

An Immigration Health Surcharge has been introduced by the Home Office and must be paid in addition to the application fee for Tier 4 students and their dependants. The charge will be £150 per year of visa granted for each applicant.

You will pay the surcharge if you are a non-EEA national and you are granted immigration permission to enter the UK to study for a time-limited period of more than six months. You will also need to pay it if you are a non- EEA national who is already in the UK and you wish to apply to extend your stay. Nationals of Australia and New Zealand are exempt from the charge.

Full information about the charge is available here:

The following link gives advice on looking after yourself, as well as practical information on how to obtain medical treatment. It also explains students’ entitlement to free medical treatment under the UK state health system:

Working in the UK

During your studies

As an international student you could be eligible to work during studies in the UK. You may be eligible to work 10 – 20 hours per week depending on the stamp/sticker which was placed in your passport by the UK immigration authorities. You may work full-time during your holiday. The number of hours you are allowed to work during term time depends on:

  • Your nationality
  • The level of your programme and duration

Please note that the work you do must not be relied upon as a means to fund your studies and must not fill a full time permanent vacancy.

After your studies

There are a number of options available to all international students to work after completing your studies. The UK Council of International Student Affairs has a dedicated page with comprehensive details on your eligibility to work in the UK after completing your studies.