Before you accept your offer at the University of Surrey and make a visa application to the Home Office, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have sufficient funds to pay your tuition fees and fund your living costs for the duration of your study.
The University will not be able to help fund your studies once you arrive. Students from non-EEA countries do not automatically have a right to seek employment in the UK and should therefore not rely on part-time work to supplement finances.
You will need to provide evidence of this funding when you apply for your visa. Once in the UK, if you do not have adequate funds to meet the payment deadlines for tuition fees, the University reserves the right to exclude you from the programme until the next academic year, after the fees have been paid in full. In this case, the University will notify UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) of your exclusion and your visa will be curtailed.
You should pay in UK currency (sterling) whenever possible as you will need to make up for any shortfall arising from currency fluctuations or bank transfer charges. Allow for any increases in exchange rates which may affect your tuition fees and living costs, particularly if you are studying for more than one year.
How do I transfer money to the UK?
In certain countries, exchange control regulations are tight and you may need government approval in order to transfer funds to the UK. Check with your own bank about requirements well before you are due to travel. If you need written evidence from the University concerning your admission, registration or your estimated expenses, you should obtain this from Admissions.
Fluctuating exchange rates can make a big difference so try to change your money at the right time but make sure this does not cause you to miss important payment deadlines. Once you open a bank account in the UK, your sponsor or family will be able to transfer funds into your account directly. There may be charges for this and for currency conversion.
You should bring a small amount of UK sterling with you for expenses at the airport, travel to the campus and initial living costs, but you should not need more than £400. It is also a good idea to obtain a credit card from home as a contingency and for getting cash from ATM machines, although there is likely to be a handling fee for each transaction.
Payments for tuition and accommodation fees should be paid online wherever possible. Do not carry funds in a cheque or bank draft made out in your own name as you will need to open a bank account and allow up to four weeks for the money to clear.
You are expected to pay tuition fees upon arrival at the University, or bring evidence that you are in receipt of a scholarship which includes payment of the full fees direct to the University. An invoice will be sent to your University email account, and you will be expected to pay the first instalment of your fees within the first four weeks of the semester. If you are sponsored by your Government or sponsoring agency, you are responsible for ensuring that the University receives the correct sponsorship letter.
You may want to pay part or all of your first year’s tuition fees in advance to help when applying for a Tier 4 student visa. You can do this through the e-payment gateway. Please mark any payments “UG fees” and include your full name and student number.
Full information about specific scholarships offered to international students can be found here.
You will have received information about payment of tuition fees through the Applicant Portal. Once you have accepted your unconditional offer and satisfied the requirement below with regards to your fees, and obtained your ATAS certificate if required, a CAS can be issued for your Tier 4 visa.
You must either:
- Pay a deposit of £2,000 or the full tuition fees
- Provide formal proof from a sponsor that you are in receipt of a scholarship (family members or relatives are not considered a sponsor) which will be paid directly to the University and which will cover your tuition fees in full. It is important that your sponsor provides a letter that is acceptable to the University. You are responsible for ensuring that this letter is on file so that the invoice for your tuition fees can be sent directly to the sponsor.
How can I pay my tuition fees?
Full information on how to pay your tuition fees can be found in the Your Money section of the University's website.
Payment of full tuition fees or first instalment (£2,000), or a valid sponsorship letter, received before 1st August 2016 will guarantee a place on the course subject to availability. Please note that for 16/17 entry, some Postgraduate courses in the Surrey Business School have a deposit deadline of 1st May 2016. Please contact our Admissions Department for further details.
The majority of self-financing students can pay their fees in instalments. There are two instalments for undergraduates and three for postgraduates, the first instalment for postgraduates being the £2,000 deposit. This facility is not available to students on certain taught programmes where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis. There is no need to request an instalment plan – if you do not pay your fees in full in advance of registration or at registration, an invoice will be issued to your University email account with details of the remaining amounts and dates when fees are payable.
Failure to pay the fees by the due date will result in exclusion from the programme, so please make sure that payments are made in good time. If you do encounter any problems, you should contact the Fees and Funding team immediately.
Student loans and scholarships
Full-time undergraduates from the EU intending to commence a programme in 2016 who have been classified as ‘home’ students for fees purposes are generally eligible to apply for a tuition fee loan. Applications should be made before joining the University.
EU postgraduate students are not eligible for the same help with tuition fees as undergraduate students, but funding may be available from the various UK Research Councils.
How much will it cost to live in the UK?
You will need to budget carefully to cover all your living costs, which include accommodation, clothes, transport, books, food and entertainment, plus your flight to the UK.
Although the UKVI have specific financial requirements for a visa application, it is very difficult to estimate how much money you will spend in a year as it depends on an individual’s lifestyle and circumstances. The University of Surrey estimates that you will need at least £250 per week to cover your general living expenses, including rent. This amounts to approximately £13,000 for one full calendar year. You should allow at least 50 per cent more if your spouse is coming with you and more again if you will have children living with you. This is considerably more than the UKVI requires at the point of visa application.
Remember, you will need to spend more money at the beginning of the programme as you will need to buy one-off items such as bedding, kitchen equipment and books. You may also have to spend more if you are studying on certain programmes where you may need to buy special equipment, go on field courses or undertake study periods overseas. Small charges may be made by some departments for supplementary materials or services.
University accommodation is usually cheaper than living off campus, as the rent includes heating, lighting, internet connection and contents’ insurance. The weekly rent ranges from £69 for a duplex (shared) room, to £87 – £99.50 for a single room with shared bathroom and £132 – £160 for an en suite room. Limited family accommodation is also available, ranging from £138 to £350 per week. Please check your accommodation allocation letter when budgeting for your living expenses to see how much your rent will be.
Here is a breakdown of weekly costs, based on average rent of £112 per week. Please be aware that this is for guidance purposes only. Costs may vary.
The International Student Calculator is a useful way of helping you to check that you will be able to manage your finances and gives some approximate guidance on rent and wages as well. You can also find information on average shopping prices and the typical cost of eating out.
Another useful source of information to help you budget and to find out what is available to eat in the UK is My Supermarket. If you click on “Start Shopping”, you can set the local supermarket as Tesco (our nearest large supermarket) and, without needing to register, you can see the types of food sold in the UK and the price of individual items.
During the International Orientation Programme, current students will offer guided walks to the local Tesco store throughout the day to help you find your way and show you what sort of foods to look out for. You can return to campus by bus with your shopping.
If you encounter financial difficulties during your studies, you should seek advice from the Student Money team.
Ten top tips to help keep costs down
- Self-catering is cheaper than eating out. Making your own lunch, buying food from the local supermarket and looking out for ‘own brands’ (products made by the supermarkets themselves) and bargains help to save money
- Try shopping and cooking with friends as this is cheaper than cooking for one
- University housing includes heating, electricity and broadband bills so you have no surprises at the end of the month
- Do some research before signing up to an expensive mobile or broadband contract. This website may help
- Wait until you start your programme before buying books – you may be able to buy second hand books or use the library in some cases
- Take advantage of student discounts – you may be able to get reduced-price tickets at the cinema, art exhibitions, in shops and hairdressers, for example
- Consider buying a second-hand bicycle if you are going to live off the main campus
- Use international telephone cards (available on campus) to make cheaper calls home or use free internet services such as Skype or Whatsapp
- You do not have to buy expensive bottled water – tap water is drinkable in the UK
- Visit the campus fruit and vegetable market on a Thursday for a variety of produce at reasonable prices