Planning a Personal Budget for Great Britain
After you have been admitted to the program, one of your first questions is how much it's really going to cost. This section will help you anticipate a variety of common expenses so you can start planning now. If your family is helping to pay for your program abroad, you should discuss your budget with them also.
The Fees and Financial Info page explains what your program fee does and does not cover, and will provide you with an overall estimate of expected expenses. It is important to note that the "Estimate of Additional Expenses" information is provided for planning purposes only, and may vary according to your own personal spending habits.
Let's go through each of the items for which you will have to budget:
Working in Great Britain
Students interested in working while in the UK will need to obtain a special visa. Please refer to the UK Visa Information for further details.
Your program fee does not include the cost of international air travel to Great Britain. Please see the Estimate of Additional Expenses for your program for an estimated cost of airfare. Make sure to review your country's Travel Page prior to booking your flights.
In the past, all students studying in the UK for six months or more were required to register with the police after their arrival in the United Kingdom and pay a registration fee. This is no longer the case for U.S. nationals most of the time. In theory, this requirement can still be imposed "at the discretion of the port immigration officer" – but it is now highly unlikely. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please check with the nearest British Consulate to determine whether you will be subject to this registration fee.
Expect to spend extra on meals and basic expenses during your first couple of weeks in-country as you settle into your term-time accommodation. See your program dates for information about Arcadia and on-campus orientation dates.
Special Course Fees
Some universities assess a special course fee for physical sciences, engineering, drama, psychology, music or computer science. If you are studying one of these subjects while abroad, check with your program manager to determine if you are subject to an additional fee for your courses. Each university has its own policy. Some assess a fee for every special course taken, while others assess the fee only if a certain portion of courses are taken within one of these departments.
Depending on your program, the special fee can range from $300 to about $4,000. Don't let this fee catch you by surprise. VERY IMPORTANT: In most cases, you will not be billed for this fee until after you have registered for classes overseas. Please check with your program manager for more details.
Special note for students taking studio art classes: Please be advised that you may be required to pay a supplies fee directly to the university after you arrive and register for courses.
You should consult the program fees for notes about course fees.
Students living in self-catered apartments may need to purchase pots and pans, dishes and silverware. In some cases, linens (sheets and towels) may not be provided. Check your program's housing page for details.
Meals, Books, Local Transport and Personal Expenses
These are probably your most variable costs, as they will depend on your personal habits and the size of the city in which you are living. Consult the "Estimate of Additional Expenses" sheet for more specific estimates.
Meals taken in college student union refectories or prepared yourself will generally be cheaper than eating out. If you are assigned to a university residence hall with a required meal plan, you will be billed for this extra cost about one month after your program begins. Meal plans vary in what they provide and in their cost. Please consult your housing information sheet for more precise information.
Personal expenses include costs for laundry, phone calls, entertainment, gym membership, etc. Unlike at most US colleges and universities, where gym fees are included in general tuition fees, students at British universities pay for gym membership separately, typically £25-50 per month. (You will find out more information after you arrive.) Phoning the United States can get very expensive very quickly. Read the "International Telephoning" section in "Know Before You Go" to familiarize yourself with the different options. You may also wish to ask a member of the overseas staff during your orientation period.
Arcadia strongly recommends that you wait to make travel plans during the semester until you have arrived in-country and know your class schedule and assessment dates. Classes and exams will not be rescheduled around your vacation plans.
This is the category that can really add up, depending on how far you go and how much time you have to travel. Check your program calendar for other breaks and holidays that occur during your study period.
Most students travel during holiday breaks.
You'll stretch your budget if you do the following:
- Make daily and weekly budgets and stick to them.
- Prepare your own food. It's cheaper than eating out. If you do eat out, eat your main meal at noon, rather than in the evening.
- Plan your activities around free, inexpensive and discounted events.
- Take care of your belongings and safeguard your travelers checks, cash and passport.