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Information for Students

Cost of living in London

Tran Minh Nguyen Hyde Park

Photo: Tran Minh Nguyen, Hyde Park

Remember, one of the plus sides of living in London is the availability of job opportunities, to enhance your CV and help pay your bills. 

Look at our page on Reducing Expenses for tips on how to lower these weekly costs.  Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert website is also a useful resource. The UniAid International Student Calculator is a useful online budgeting tool that can help home and international students plan the cost of their studies.

The following list gives you an idea of what you should expect to pay on a weekly basis in London. All figures used are based on estimates.

Accommodation - £100-£260 per week

If you have a place in SOAS  halls of residence,  your accommodation costs will be  £143.30. This weekly amount includes utilities such as heating, lighting and hot water. For private sector accommodation, prices will vary depending on which zone in London you live in but expect to pay anywhere between £90 and £140 for a room in a zone 2 household for example. Private accommodation rent often does not include utilities.

Food - £40-£60 a week

If you have a place in SOAS halls of residence they may be self-catered, so you will need room in your budget for grocery shopping as well as lunch on campus. Again, prices will vary depending on your tastes but you should at least budget for around £40 for food.

Electricity/Gas - £5 - £15 a week

If you are living in halls, you will not need to pay for utilities such as electricity and gas. For those renting in the private sector, you should budget around £10 a week for your energy bills.

Study Materials - £5-£10 a week

Most study materials will be required within the first few weeks of your course, so it is a good idea to budget for this up front expense.

Travel - £10-£30 a week

The closer you are to SOAS, the cheaper your transport costs will be. SOAS Halls are situated close to the Vernon Square campus and a 20 minute walk from the Russell Square campus. Students in privately rented accommodation or the family home living further away from the university campus and outside Zone 1 can expect to pay more to travel on a weekly basis. Most students will be eligible for a 30% discount on a weekly or monthly travel card. For example the cost of a 7 day Zone 1 and Zone 2 travelcard with a student discount is £21.20.

TV Licence - £3 a week

If you want a TV either in halls or in private accommodation, you will need to get a TV Licence. Currently, a TV Licence costs £145.50 per year payable in monthly instalments or as a lump sum. For more information, please visit the TV Licensing website.

Mobile Phone and Internet Costs - £10 a week

If you are living in a SOAS halls of residence basic broadband service is included in halls of residence costs, however you may wish to upgrade. On arrival you will be given a leaflet with more information on this service. If you are living in private accommodation you'll need to budget this cost in along with the cost of a mobile phone. These costs vary hugely, but the market is very competitive and you have the power to get a better deal. Compare the costs of mobile and broadband providers using Ofcom accredited site Cable.co.uk.

Entertainment - £20-£50 a week

Entertainment costs will greatly vary from student to student. There are plenty of discounts offered to students for club nights, theatre and cinema tickets, and special events, as well as events held at the Students' Union. It may also be worth getting an NUS Extra card from the NUS which will offer further student discounts.

Miscellaneous - £20 a week

Make sure you leave room in your budget for miscellaneous costs such as toiletries and clothes as well as occasional items such as gifts. Your NUS extra card can also give you a discount at some high street shops.  

Total Budget - £223-£423 per week