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The 17 most expensive universities in the UK

The 17 most expensive universities in the UK

There is no escaping the fact that the cost of university is on the rise. After the controversial cap came into effect in 2012 (effectively nearly trebling the cost of tuition fees from £3,000 per year to over £9,000 per year), students are getting into more and more debt for the sake of their education.

According to the National Union of Students (NUS), the average expenditure to live and study in the UK (excluding London) is now a massive £22,189 per academic year—£10,133 earmarked for tuition fees and other associated academic costs, and the remaining £12,056 for living costs (£4,834 for rent, £1,956 for food, and £5,289 on other requirements like travel, household goods and other miscellaneous expenses). In London the average cost rises to £23,521. What’s worse, NUS research shows the average income from student loans and funding is £14,370—that’s an annual shortfall of £7,819 between the amount of money needed, and the amount provided by student loans and bursaries.

Universities are doing nothing to alleviate the financial burdens they place on their students, charging fees higher than ever for a university education that was once free to the masses. Market Inspector, a B2B digital marketplace, has compiled a list of the most expensive universities in the UK—and it may come as no surprise that 16 out of 17 universities on the list are situated in London and the South:

17. The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama—Camden, London

Citing such famous alumna as Dame Judi Dench and Academy Award-winning actor Laurence Olivier, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is a College within the prestigious University of London network, with most courses requiring students’ involvement in an exhaustive interview or audition process.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £21,982

16. Kingston University—Kingston Upon Thames, South-West London

Kingston University has seen its fair share of changes through the years, borne through the merger of the city’s College of Technology and College of Art, and only recently came to full maturity by graduating from a Polytechnic to a fully-fledged University as early as 1992. Still, this has had no bearing on its popularity, with Kingston University boasting a student population of 21,915 in the academic year 2014/15.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £22,058

15. Leeds Beckett University—Leeds, Yorkshire

The only Northern university to make the list, Leeds Beckett University—formerly Leeds Metropolitan—is one of the UK’s largest higher-education centres, which perhaps goes some way to explaining its large price-tag. The University has a 190-year history, and is the only university in the UK to hold the Customer Service Excellence standard and an Investors in People (Gold) accreditation.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £22,330

14. The University of Westminster—Westminster, London

The University of Westminster is world-renowned for its Communication and Media Research Institution, making it one of the top 40 communications schools in the world. It seems the university has always been ahead of the curve, recognised as the first polytechnic in the UK (and the first to offer degrees in both film and photography), as well as the first modern university to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £22,810

13. London Metropolitan University—Whitechapel, London

Following the merger of The University of North London and London Guildhall University in 2002, the resultant London Metropolitan University has a population of more than 14,000 students, each of which pay an above-average amount perhaps because of the university’s close proximity to central London.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £23,000

12. Middlesex University—North London

With origins dating back to 1878, Middlesex University has campuses as far afield as Dubai, Malta and Mauritius, and has an Institute for Work-Based Learning which is a recognised Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (with 90% of the University’s research deemed “internationally recognised”).

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £23,040

11. School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS)—Bloomsbury, London

Shortened to SOAS, the School of African and Oriental Studies is part of the University of London and is Europe’s only higher-education institution specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. With such a unique specialism, allowing students to learn languages like Arabic and Mandarin, it’s no wonder SOAS has the fees to match.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £23,996

10. Imperial College London—Kensington, London

Imperial College London was founded by Prince Albert (of Victoria and Albert fame) in 1887, and has been going from strength to strength since then—2007 saw the college celebrating its 100th year of academic excellence, and can claim 15 Nobel Prize winners among its impressive alumna.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £24,186

9. Royal Academy of Music—Marylebone, London

The Royal Academy of Music has a reputation in industry as one of the top conservatoires in the world, founded in 1822 and with a list of famous graduates longer than a sheet of music. The Academy now trains nearly 800 students from over 50 countries in more than 20 musical disciplines.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £24,312

8. Oxford Brookes University—Oxford, South East England

When thinking of Oxford, it is easy to forget that this city has more than one university—however, the lesser-known Oxford Brookes University is still a popular choice as a higher-education facility, having won nine National Teaching Fellowship awards for outstanding teaching in the last 7 years.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £24,450

7. City University London—Islington, London

City University has big plans to become a leading global university ranked within the top 2% of universities in the world—and that vision is close to being a reality, thanks to the university’s specialism in vocational courses and having a worldwide reputation for its journalism school.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £24,468

6. University of Oxford—Oxford, South East England

One of the UK’s—and indeed the world’s—educational heavyweights, the University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, with 26,000 students every year flocking to Oxford to benefit from its world-class reputation for academic excellence.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £24,760

5. London School of Economics and Politics (LSE)—Central London

Another educational giant, the London School of Economics and Politics is second in the world for the study of social sciences, and in 2016 received 18,000 applicants for 1,600 undergraduate places (at a rate of 11.25 applicants per place). It’s no wonder the university is in such high demand—LSE has produced 35 world leaders and heads of state, as well as 16 Nobel Prize winners in economics, peace and literature.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £25,546

4. University College London (UCL)—Bloomsbury, London

UCL is ranked 10th in the UK, and for good reason—as England’s third-oldest university (founded in 1826), a massive 89% of its undergraduates achieved a first-class or upper-second-class honours degree in the academic year 2014/15, and the university has 29 Nobel Prize-winning alumni in its portfolio.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £25,664

3. University of the Arts London (UAL)—Various locations, London

Made up of 14 sites including Central Saint Martins, London College of Communication and London College of Fashion, UAL is in the top five universities in the world for art and design. Each of the six institutions within UAL enjoy great international reputations in creative fields.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £25,776

2. Royal College of Music—South Kensington, London

A leader in its field, the Royal College of Music has produced some of the world’s leading musical names, including infamous composer and songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as composer Gustav Holst. Entrance to this prestigious institution is secured by audition and interview for one of the university’s 810 places.

Tuition fees: £9,250

Total cost: £26,518

1. Regent’s University London—Inner Circle, London

Known as one of the UK’s most respected independent universities, the huge cost of Regent’s University London comes down to its status as a private university (just one of six in the UK). Part of the appeal of Regent’s University London is its low student population (3,600), making its student-faculty ratio only 14-1.

Tuition fees: £16,400

Total cost: £38,854

Needless to say, whichever university you choose will be expensive. The main problem facing these educational institutions, though, is the chronic lack of available accommodation to house these students. This is where Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) comes in, helping alleviate the huge strain on universities to provide high-end accommodation for their ever-growing student numbers.

Looking to invest in student accommodation? Have a look at our available apartments and get in touch today!