Funding a degree in the UK

Studying abroad has many benefits, but it can come with high costs and the need to manage money across multiple countries. 

Over half a million international students enrol at UK universities each year1 and pay average annual tuition fees of around £12,000, according to Times Higher Education (THE). 2

Fees are only part of the equation; the average annual cost including living expenses is around £24,000.2 That figure will vary depending on the specific course, university and location.

There may be additional costs to consider on top of this too, such as flights to see family members.    

To obtain a visa, international students also need to prove they have enough money to support themselves and pay for their course. 

Explore more: Checklist for moving overseas

Ways to fund education overseas

When the time comes, it may be possible to work while studying in the UK – subject to the conditions of your visa – but here are some of the other ways to cover the costs.


If you don’t already have a clear idea of how you’ll fund a degree overseas, it’s never too early to start planning. A savings account could be a place to start, particularly if you can get into the habit of making regular contributions.


If you’re preparing to fund your child’s degree and still have several years until they’re due to go, you might want to consider investing. However, while offering the potential for higher returns, investing carries the risk of losses, so you could get back less than you invested. 

It’s also important to have money set aside for emergencies before you consider investing.

Explore more: Saving vs investing


Another option is to borrow money, so long as you have a high degree of confidence that you’ll be able to keep up with repayments. 

You can also discuss funding opportunities with universities, UKCISA or the British Council if you’re not sure you’ll be able to cover the costs. Some students may be eligible for a scholarship.

Making payments

If you’re going to be regularly sending money to a family member overseas, it’s worth thinking about how to make this as simple and cost effective as possible. Exactly how much and how often you’ll be transferring money may determine the best way to do it.

An International Money Transfer gives you the flexibility to transfer a set amount at a set time – or at regular intervals. You may also be able to link global accounts with some international banks, for example HSBC Global View and Global Transfers enables customers to quickly send money without a fee and also see all their international accounts in one place.

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