The United Kingdom is one of the most preferred destinations for Indian students for many reasons—the quality of education and English being the medium of communication, among them. The tuition and living expenses in the UK might seem high but they also depend on the choice of course, the university, the city you live in and your lifestyle.
Tuition in the UK
However, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to categorizing universities. At times, smaller universities would have better facilities and faculty for a particular course and students should choose a college based on their course of interest, not just the reputation of the university. There are plenty of equally good universities that offer affordable education such as the Goldsmith College and the Manchester Metropolitan, for example, with their fees starting at £17,000 (~ ₹17 lakh) and the University of Essex and University of York starting at £9,250 (~ ₹9 lakh). These fee estimates are for arts and humanities courses.
In addition to the tuition fees, UK visa and immigration requires you to show proof of your financial sustainability—a budget of around £12,000 (~ ₹12 lakh). Also keep in mind the cost of the visa, currently £348 (~ ₹35,000) with a NHS (National Health Service) fee of £470 (~ ₹47,000) per year.
The living expenses in the UK also depend on your commute to college, your social life, etc. Most universities offer campus accommodation for international students called the Halls of Residence. You need to apply early to avail this. If you are planning to rent an apartment of your own, you would have to pay for services like electricity, water, gas and a council tax besides food and groceries. Undoubtedly, living in London would be more expensive, coming to around £11,000 (~ ₹11 lakh) per year, for inner London and around £9,000 (~ ₹9 lakh) for outer London. Indian students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week for part-time jobs. However, currently, owing to the pandemic situation, students are advised not to bank on part-time work.
Work visa, ease of finding a job
The UK Home Office has reintroduced its post-study work visa for international students. This means that all Indian students from recognized universities in the UK can stay there and look for work for at least two years after their course. This applies to all disciplines and all courses—undergraduate, postgraduate or research courses. Also, you don’t need to have a job offer to apply for a post-study work visa. In order to be eligible for the visa, students should have been studying in the UK for at least a year and should be present while applying for the visa. This rule does not apply if you were forced to complete your course outside of the UK due to covid-19. In order to land their dream job in the UK, students would have to push themselves and start applying before the course ends. An impressive résumé can help students to stand out from the crowd and land the job.
Covid rules and regulations are not the same for all universities and students need to check with the respective institutions to get updated information. However, the good news is that the UK has taken India off its red list. This means that flights are currently operating from India to the UK and back. At the same time, you need to take a covid-19 test within 72 hours of your departure, and also book a test to be taken after you arrive in the UK.
Once you arrive, you must take another test within 48 hours and submit a negative report if you are fully vaccinated. If you do not qualify as fully vaccinated, you would need to quarantine at your residence for 10 days after arrival.
All these might seem like a lot of rules and regulations, but this shouldn’t stop you from availing quality education and a dream career in the UK, as there are plenty of scholarships available as well for all international students, including Indians. Good luck!
Ajesh Raj is the co-founder & CEO of Edumpus.