International Student Support

Fees and finances

Take time to ensure your finances are in place before you leave your home country. You will need to make sure you have enough money to cover your tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses. Be prepared for changes in the rate of inflation and the exchange rate, which can seriously alter your financial position. Below you can find information regarding tuition fees as well as guidance to help you budget for your studies in the UK.

Tuition Fees

Fee status

The tuition fee you are charged will depend on whether you are classified as ‘home/EU’, ‘Islands’ or ‘overseas’. The rules on how you are classified are strictly defined by the UK Government. In general:

  • home/EU: students who are settled and ordinarily resident in the UK, and EU nationals who are ordinarily resident in the European Economic Area, Switzerland or the overseas territories for the three years prior to the start of the course
  • Islands: students from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, who are therefore within the British Isles, but outside the UK (with the exception of the BM BS in Medicine, where a different fee applies, Islands students are charged fees at the home/EU rate)
  • overseas: students from other countries (there are exceptions, such as students who are temporarily outside the UK/EU, those with refugee status granted by the UK Government, and migrant workers).

Applicants with UK or other EU nationality should be aware that such nationality does not guarantee that you will be classed as a ‘home/EU’ student – you must also satisfy various residence requirements.

If your fee-status classification is unclear, we will send you a questionnaire to complete, so that your status can be determined by the University. The rules surrounding fee-status classification are complicated and if you are in doubt, visit the UKCISA website.

Fee status appeals

If, having been notified of your fee status, you disagree with the outcome, you can request for your fee assessment to be reviewed and appeal against the decision. Details of the fee status appeal process can be found here.

How much will my tuition fees cost?

Information regarding tuition fee costs can be found here.

The tuition fee you are charged will depend on your course and your fee status (either ‘overseas’ or ‘home/EU’). You may have been sent a fee-status questionnaire. Your answers to this will be used by the University to determine the appropriate level of fee. The rules for determining fee status are complex and each case is considered individually. Note that fees increase each academic year.

How to pay

For students starting their programme in the autumn, you can pay your tuition fees, accommodation charges or set up a recognised University payment plan online from 1 September on Sussex Direct

You can also telephone Student Accounts on + 44 (0)800 8494979 during their opening hours (10am-1pm and 2-4pm) to pay your fees.

You should pay your fees before you arrive, if at all possible, as this will make the registration process much quicker and easier for you.

If you are sponsored by an Embassy or other official organisation please ensure that you provide Student Accounts with a copy of your sponsorship or award letter before you register. These should be sent by email to The letter must be submitted on letter-headed paper and must be signed and state the address the invoice should be sent to, along with the contact name and telephone number for any queries. Note that if your sponsor fails to pay, you will be responsible for payment.

Options for payment - online

  • By Western Union bank to bank transfer (through Pay 24-7 and Western Union). The document to make a Western Union payment is available on Sussex Direct. You will need to select the item (either fees or rent) you wish to pay in full, and click on the 'arrange to pay' button. Western Union will then appear as a payment option. If you choose to proceed you will be provided with online instructions. A payment transfer document will be generated that you should take to your bank. Your bank will then arrange a Western Union transfer to your student account with the University. Some of the advantages of using this method of payment are that it provides a guaranteed exchange rate with no additional charges from the University or Western Union when making transfers from an overseas bank account. It is also cheaper than using a major credit card.
  • By credit or debit card (except Diners' Club and American Express) on Sussex Direct online. You can make payment of tuition fees or accommodation charges in full.

Options for payment - other methods

  • By credit/debit card in full or by termly instalments (except Diners' Club) online at . Please advise your card issuer if the payment you intend to make exceeds the daily limit on your card.
  • By bank transfer (prior to your arrival). However, please note that the exchange rate will be subject to fluctuation and you will probably incur additional bank charges. Bank details are available on request. Please contact
  • By cheque on or before registration. Cheques should be made payable to 'The University of Sussex' and your registration number (if available) should be noted on the reverse.
  • Travellers Cheques. If you wish to pay by Travellers Cheque you will not be able to register online and will need to attend the relevant in person registration session. The University will accept Euros, US dollar and sterling Travellers Cheques (there will be a charge if not in sterling). Please note that we do not give change for payments made by Travellers Cheques.

Options for Payment of Tuition Fees in Instalments

If you are paying by credit or debit card, and you are self-financing (the fee is being paid by you or a member of your family) you can usually choose between paying your tuition fees and accommodation charges in full or in instalments, although please note that the latter option can only be arranged online.

Termly instalments can be paid by credit or debit card. Fees can be paid in three termly instalments if you are here for the full academic year, or two termly instalments if you are here for two terms only.

Further detailed information on payment methods can be found on the Student Accounts webpages.

Scholarships and Funding

Awards are usually competitive and are made on the basis of academic merit, and the majority are for postgraduate study. Remember that scholarships are awarded before students begin their course and for most awards you will need to apply well in advance of the date that you wish to begin your degree programme. It is very unlikely that you will be able to obtain additional funding once you have started your course.

You can also contact the local British Council or the education department of your own government for information on financial aid.

Find out about grants and scholarships which are available from the University of Sussex and other organisations in the UK or overseas.

American student loans and federal student aid

The University of Sussex will participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program in the academic year 2017/18. If you are an American national or permanent resident you can apply for a loan if you have accepted an offer of a place at the University of Sussex. Loans need to be applied for on an annual basis. For further information please see the Student Life Centre webpages.

Living Expenses

In addition to your tuition fees you should ensure that you have adequate funds to cover your living expenses while you study at Sussex.  These may include the following:

  • accommodation costs
  • living costs (eg food, telephone bills)
  • study costs (eg books, IT essentials)
  • travel and visa costs
  • childcare costs (if applicable)
  • extras (there are always some!)

How much money will I need for accommodation and living costs?

It is difficult to estimate accurately how much it will cost you to live in the UK because this will depend on your lifestyle and the subject you study (for some subjects you may need to buy special equipment or go on field trips away from Sussex). However, to give you an indication of the amount you will need, we estimate that to cover the cost of accommodation and other basic living expenses, a single self-supporting student (with no children) should budget for between at least £915-£1300 each month for the full academic year 2016/17, in addition to tuition fees. The cost of insurance, telephone calls and travel home will vary.

If you require a visa to study in the UK, you will need to show you have enough money to meet the maintenance requirements set by the Home Office. Note that actual living costs are likely to be higher than this amount.

The table on the Living Costs & Budgeting page shows a very generalised breakdown of how your living expenses might be allocated on a weekly basis. This figure is for guidance only. The cost of University-managed accommodation varies (en suite accommodation with your own shower and toilet will cost considerably more than a shared room). For more details about accommodation costs, see the Residential Services website.

*Please note: the given costs are in pounds sterling, but if you convert the amounts into your own currency you will see how much money you are likely to need to study at Sussex (in addition to tuition fees).

If you are intending to come to the UK with a partner and/or children, your living expenses will be significantly higher, and you must ensure that you have made adequate financial arrangements. For visa purposes, you will need to show that you have £680 per dependant for each month that the dependent will be allowed to stay in the UK (up to a maximum of £6,120).

Everyday costs

Living in the UK can be expensive but there is lots of information and guidance available to help you plan and manage your money. Everyday costs you are likely to incur include the following:


Food costs will vary depending on taste and dietary needs, but will account for a significant part of your budget. Before you travel to the UK, visit UK supermarket and department stores online to find out what goods are available in the UK and how much they cost. You can also use these websites for online shopping when you begin studying in the UK. You can also compare prices at Supermarkets often have ‘own brand’ labels which are cheaper than more recognised brands. You could also explore local markets or buy essential items in bulk as it works out cheaper. There are also lots of bargains in Poundland and other discount stores.

Many larger supermarkets stock a wide range of products imported from overseas and food meeting religious requirements, for example Halal. There are also many specialist food stores in the Brighton and Hove area, where you will be able to find the foods you are used to eating at home. Please note, however, that prices are often much higher than you will be used to. For more information on local supermarkets and specialist food stores go to the 'Living in the UK' information on shopping.


Travelling around the UK can be expensive if you don’t plan ahead. However, there are student discount cards you can buy for national rail and bus networks, and locally there are various cheap ticket options available to students. For budget travel advice see our information on travelling around.

Walking and cycling saves you money and keeps you fit, so you may want to consider buying a second hand bike and a good quality lock.

Utility bills

The cost of heating and lighting is included in the rent in all University accommodation. If you live in private sector accommodation the cost of electricity, gas, water and telephone is usually not included in the rent. You can compare prices at websites such as or to find the best deals for utilities.

Textbooks and other equipment

You will need to budget for course-related costs such as textbooks, stationery and photocopying. Remember that most course books will be available from the library on campus. If you do have to buy books, look on noticeboards to see if there are any you need being sold by students from the year before. Also check out auction websites such as eBay.

Mobile phones

If you bring a mobile phone with you to the UK, you might find that you’ll be charged very highly if you use it to make calls while you're living here. For advice on getting the best mobile phone deal in the UK see our 'keeping in touch with home' section on the 'Living in the UK' web pages.

Internet access

Remember that as a Sussex student you have free internet access on campus. If you live in private accommodation and decide you want Internet access at home too, shop around for the best deal on broadband. For tips on finding the best student broadband deals in Sussex, visit our 'keeping in touch with home' section on the 'Living in the UK' webpages.


Birthday surpriseMidnight Birthday Surprise with New Friends from Sussex by Ann Jung-Yoon Kim International Summer School photo competition 2012

Don’t forget to budget money for entertainment and socialising with the new friends you will make. The cost of an evening out will vary. There are a wide range of venues and prices in Brighton and the surrounding area and many offer a student discount. For example, if you go clubbing at the weekend expect to pay between £5-£10 for entry. Or around £8 for an inexpensive lunch. A cinema ticket, with a student discount, is about £7.

University gym

Sussexsport offers various different membership options, as well as ‘pay and play’. For further information visit . Our popular Active US campaign run in partnership with the Students' Union also offers many low-cost, flexible opportunities to take part in social sport. This includes swimming in Brighton for £1.

Other costs

To cover the costs of laundry, personal hygiene items and household goods, you will need approximately £360 for the year.


Childcare in the UK is expensive. There is a nursery on campus, run by The Co-operative Childcare, which is open to children aged from three months to five years. Fees currently range between £49 and £56 per day, depending on the age of the child. If your child is of school age, you may need to budget for the costs of an after-school club. For older children attending an after-school club for 15 hours per week, the average cost is £52.03 per week (based on findings of the Family and Childcare Trust Annual Childcare Costs Survey 2015).

Initial and annual costs

You may also need to budget for some one-off arrival costs. These will vary in nature but may include:

Housing deposit – postgraduates who are eligible for University-managed accommodation will be required to make a pre-payment of £250 before you arrive (unless you are a sponsored student). This money is then deducted from your rent. If you are going to be living in private accommodation, you will usually have to pay one month’s rent in advance, in addition to your monthly rent, but some landlords require international students to pay six months’ rent in advance if they do not have a UK-based guarantor. If you find your accommodation through a private lettings agency, you will usually have to pay an admin fee of approximately £150 and a holding fee to secure the property (approximately £200).

Warm clothes – if you are coming from a warmer climate than the UK. The price of clothes varies enormously and how much you spend will depend on your budget. Shops such as Primark, TK Maxx, H & M and some large supermarkets sell inexpensive clothing. For more information on local stores go to the 'Living in the UK' information on shopping. 

Kitchen utensils – if you are living on campus, Kitchen packs containing basic kitchen equipment are available priced at £32. Alternatively, try the large supermarkets as well as Poundland or other discount stores. For more information on local stores go to the 'Living in the UK' information on shopping. 

Bedding – if you are living in University-managed accommodation you will be able to buy a bedding pack (including duvet and sheets) for £35. If you are in private accommodation, try buying bedding from Primark, TK Maxx or the large supermarkets. For more information on local stores go to the 'Living in the UK' information on shopping.  

Household insurance – it is cheaper to insure your belongings against theft, loss or damage than it is to replace items should anything happen to them. If you are living in University-managed accommodation, your rent includes basic contents insurance for your room. If you are living in private accommodation, you will need to purchase this personally. Many insurance companies offer student-only deals that offer cheaper insurance.

Television licence – you will be required to buy a licence if you have a TV in your room/flat. These currently cost £150.50. See

Police registration – if you are required to register with the police on arrival in the UK this will be clearly indicated in your passport. The current cost is £34 per person.

Visa fees – should you need to renew your visa while you are in the UK, you will have to pay an application fee. You and any dependants will also have to attend a biometrics appointment.

Council tax – this is a local tax that is paid to Brighton & Hove City Council for services like street lighting and rubbish collection. As a student you will not normally be liable to pay Council tax. However, you may be liable if you are taking a course that lasts less than a year, you are a part-time student, or if you live with someone who is not a full-time student. For more detailed information refer to the Council tax exemptions page.

Budget Planning

According to research by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), student finance is the number one concern for international students. Almost a quarter of students surveyed (23%) said they didn't have enough money to live on. Of those who had experienced hardship, 72% said they underestimated the cost of living.

The University’s Student Life Centre offers a variety of budgeting services to help you manage your money more effectively.

The International Student Calculator has been developed by UKCISA and Brightside (an independent education charity). It will enable you to:

  • Build a lifestyle budget and see how it balances by week, month or over a year
  • Understand how you will spend your time as well as your money in the UK
  • Get information on areas like insurance and banking as well as guidance on the costs of living
  • Learn from case studies and top tips from other students

There is also some useful information about budget planning for international students on the British Council’s website

Student Discounts

Student discounts

One of the good things about studying in the UK is the availability of many student discounts!

Firstly, we'd recommend always carrying your Sussex student ID card. There will often be opportunities to ask for a student discount in shops, restauraunts and various activities.

You also might like to consider purchasing an NUS (National Union of Students) Extra card. It costs £12 and will last for one year. This will entitle you to savings on all kinds of goods and services, including food, clothing, entertainment, stationery, and even haircuts! Find out more information on the NUS Card here

There are also a couple of popular student discount websites. Student Beans lists lots of discounts and voucher codes currently on offer to students studying in the UK, while registering for a free account with UniDays allows students to access further discounts.

Transferring Money to the UK

It is not advisable to carry large amounts of cash when you are travelling. Bring just enough cash to meet your immediate needs and send the rest of your money by another method, such as:

International Money Order

This is bought before leaving your home country, and on arrival you can either pay it directly into your UK bank account or take it to a post office to obtain cash. To exchange it for cash, the money order must be in sterling (British currency), and you will need to show your passport as identification.

Bank Draft/Demand Draft

This is similar to an international money order, except that you can only pay it into a bank account; you cannot exchange it for cash. Ask to have it made out to you in sterling and drawn from a British bank. That way you will not have to pay a commission fee when you pay it into your account, and the money will take less time to clear (ie move through the system and into your bank account).

Electronic Transfer

Using this method, your bank in your home country transfers funds from your home account directly to your UK account. This is often the easiest way to transfer money, but you cannot arrange it until you have opened a bank account in the UK.

Telegraphic Transfer

This is one of the fastest ways to send money from one country to another, but it is also one of the most expensive. As with an electronic transfer, you can only arrange a telegraphic transfer after you have opened your UK bank account. We recommend that you contact your local bank for further information about how to transfer funds to the UK.

Travellers Cheques

This is a safe method of bringing funds with you. Travellers Cheques can be exchanged at banks, shops, hotels and bureaux de change. A commission charge is sometimes made for the service of changing Travellers Cheques to sterling. Please note that some UK banks will not cash American Express Travellers Cheques.


This is generally the quickest but one of the most expensive ways of transferring funds. Where possible, use the SWIFT system. Money sent in this way can be collected in cash or paid direct into an account.

Personal Cheques

Bank accounts will purchase these from you at the current rate of exchange; a commission charge is made for this service. There may, however, be a delay while the cheque is returned to your home bank for payment. This method is not recommended because of the possible delays to you in receiving the money. If you are in any doubt, check with your bank. Note: There may be a charge for money transferred in another currency.


We recommend that only a small sum of cash is brought (about £100 should be sufficient in addition to travellers cheques and your home credit/cash card) as you will not receive very good rates of exchange compared to other methods of transfer, and there is always the possibility of losing the money.

Useful Information

In some countries the transfer of funds to another country is illegal without government permission. You should make sure that you are allowed to transfer funds before you come to Britain. If there are restrictions, a copy of the document giving permission for the transfer of funds must be sent to the University. The original should be retained to show immigration officers on entry to the UK.

Credit Agreements

While most students are not eligible for credit facilities while studying in the UK, some high street stores may offer you the chance to buy goods on a fixed-term agreement, by which you pay them back an amount each month. While this can appear attractive, you should check the small print carefully as many of these agreements are at a high rate of interest, and sometimes you have to pay back a significant proportion in interest. We would advise against entering into this type of arrangement.



International Student Support

T +44 (0)1273 67 8422