Cost of living

close up of two female students drinking coffee in the Treehouse Area of Elm's Village student accommodation

Lowest rent costs in the UK

Belfast was found to have the cheapest weekly rent rates than anywhere else in the UK in 2016. (

Even private rentals usually include rates, so what is advertised is what you’ll pay. And with an average weekly rent of £46, that’s not very much. That’s cheaper than Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and an incredible £64 less than Oxford and Cambridge.

student making lunch and chatting with flatmates in Elm's Village

Food and grocery shopping

Belfast is also the least expensive when it comes to the food shop.

The average student here only spends £16 a week on groceries, well below the national average of £24.

If you are a full-time undergraduate student living in self-catering halls during term-time you are likely to face costs that will look something like:


Typical cost *

Accommodation £89-107
Food £50
Gas, electricity and water Included in student accommodation
Council tax Northern Ireland students are exempt
General living costs £30
Travel £10
Total Cost £197

* Costs shown are per week.

Useful Links

Where is the cheapest University town in the UK 2016?


Cost of living comparison

See how Queen's compares with other Universities in key costs, including accommodation, weekly household bills, travel expenses and tuition fees.

Area of Institution

Queen's University Belfast

English University

London University

Scottish University


Weekly cost  of University Accommodation* £112 £125 £137 £206 University websites
Average Weekly Rent £73.81 £101.55 £94.16 £105.08 Student Living Index 2016
Tuition Fees for NI students 2016/17 £3,925 £9,000 £9,000 £9,000 University Websites
Maximum Student Maintenance  Loan Available £3750 (if living with parents) £4840 if moved out £4,840 £4,840 £6,780 Student Finance NI
Average Weekly Household Bills £10.77 £9.05 £9.98 £10.73 Student Living Index 2016
Additional Travel Costs (Flights)** Nil £141 £141 £147 Sky Skanner (EasyJet)
Additional Travel Costs (Baggage)*** Nil £38 £38 £38
Scholarships 11 x £200 - £1000 scholarships for AAA students. Up to £2000 available but only for those with household income <£35,000 AAA NI students £1000 cash award. NI students pay £9000/ year but will receive one year free for 4 or 5 year courses (excludes Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science). Up to £2000 available for those with household income <£42,600. Up to £2000 available for those with household income <£42,875 University Websites
Total Cost
(NI students) ****
£8,713 £14,228 14,732 £17,452 -
Total Cost
(GB Students) ******
£11,288 £14,228 14,732 £17,452 -


  • Student maintenance grants and loans are available for NI students, both vary according to household income.
  • Based on comparable RG Universities (Newcastle, Glasgow and UCL).
  • * Based on Single Ensuite accommodation. London (UCL) only cost available Single Ensuite Studio
  • ** Based on 3 return flights p/year to Belfast
  • *** £18.99 per item - max 30kg per item
  • **** Based on University Accommodation (39 weeks), Tuition Fees and Weekly household bills (39 weeks)
  • ***** Based on an AAB student. University Accommodation (39 weeks), Tuition Fees and Weekly household bills spend (39 weeks)
Two female students preparing food in a kitchen in Queen's student accommodation


Keep on top of your finances

As a guide we estimate you should allow a sum in the region of £5,500-£7,500 to cover your expenses for one academic year. Wherever your money comes from while at university, learning to prioritise your spending will help reduce your cost of living.

Metro ylink

Travel and Transport

Translink operates Metro bus services in Belfast and train services. Student Discount card is available for all 16-23 year olds and costs only £8.

It gives up to 1/3 off Translink bus and rail services within Northern Ireland, plus up to 50 per cent off Enterprise train service between Dublin and Belfast.

More details