Cost of living

Cost of living

It is estimated that a single student living in Exeter or Cornwall will need approximately £1015 a month to meet basic living expenses such as accommodation costs, food, books and equipment and other necessities. This is in line with the Home Office recommended figures for living outside London. This figure is given as a guide only. The amount you actually spend will depend a lot upon your personal lifestyle. The following breakdown of costs is designed to give some idea of how this figure is reached. Do not forget to include the cost for the type of accommodation you have decided upon.

The cost of living will need to be increased if you will be bringing your family to the UK whilst you study. For more information see our International Students Families page

The information below should help you begin to plan your finances for living in the UK. Another easy way to work out whether you’ve budgeted enough is to visit the International Student Calculator which will help you calculate how much money you are likely to need.


If you do not live in catered Halls, the cost of food based on a western style breakfast, hot evening meal, plus a light midday meal is likely to be £30-£40 per week. There are a great many outlets for buying food on campus and a hot meal ranges from £3.50-£6.50. There are supermarkets and street markets in Exeter including two international supermarkets and shops selling halal products. On Streatham Campus the   also serves halal chicken in its dishes. In Cornwall there is a growing selection of specialist food shops in both Falmouth and Truro, alongside the usual selection of larger supermarkets.

Heating and lighting

If you choose to live in private rented accommodation, the cost of heating will not be included in your rent. If you are not used to cold or damp weather, you may need to keep the heating on for 8 months of the year. Cheaper rented accommodation does not usually have central heating, and gas or electric fires provided can be expensive to run. Allow a minimum of £400 for the year. Heating and lighting is included in the cost of University accommodation.

Books and equipment

The cost of books varies for different courses and continues to rise; the average figure for one year is £400. You are strongly advised to check with your department to find out any extra costs anticipated. In Exeter, second-hand books can be bought from the bookshop on campus and from outlets run by the Students’ Guild, or in Cornwall, FXU run book swaps. You will have to pay for your own stationery, computer disks/memory sticks and photocopying.

Warm clothing

The average figure for warm clothes, for one year, is £460.

Visa fees

Should you need to renew your visa whilst you are in the UK, you will have to include the application fee, which from April 2014 is £422 for a postal application or £822 if you need to go to the Home Office in person plus fees for any dependants. You and any dependants may have to travel to Cardiff or London to have your biometric details taken for free. The train fare to Cardiff from Exeter costs around £52 per person and from Penryn costs around £95 per person. You may also have your biometric details taken in Exeter Post Office (High Street) for £19.20.

Other costs

To cover such items as laundrette and dry-cleaning, personal hygiene items and household articles, you will need approximately £340 for the year.


You will also need some money to follow interests beyond your academic studies. Even the most studious students need time to relax and unwind! Here is an idea of how much it might cost you:

Daily newspaper 80p-£2
Paperback book £7+
Magazine £2.50+
Cup of coffee £1.40-£3
Cup of tea £1+
Non-alcoholic drinks £1.20+
Glass of wine £3.20+
Pack of cigarettes (20) £8.00+

The cost of an evening out will vary. There are a wide range of places and prices in the south west and many offer a student discount. For example, if you go clubbing at the weekend expect to pay between £5.00-£10.00 for entry, or pay £8.00 for an inexpensive lunch.

Further information