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Student Living Costs

The UK’s best value student city

Going to university is a major milestone, but the costs of studying and managing money effectively can be a concern for many students.

As a student, you will have different living costs depending on where you live, your lifestyle choices, and whether you have any financial commitments or dependents. This is why it's important to consider what your living costs are likely to be during your time at university so you can budget and manage your money effectively.

The costs highlighted on this page should be used as a guide only.

Best value for money

Belfast has the lowest cost of living in the UK (Mercer Cost of Living City Ranking 2023)

Save without compromise

Lowest student rent in the UK (NatWest Student Living Index, 2020)

Student on computer in Elms BT9 Treehouse
SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS

Queen’s University has announced a multi-million support package of £7.69 million for students and staff facing the current cost of living crisis.

As students and staff face into a winter of financial uncertainty, it has been our priority to develop a series of measures to support the Queen’s community including;

  • A total of 3600 students who come from families earning under £25,000 per year will receive a one-off payment of £400 each with all other students receiving £150.
  • We will allocate £600,000 into a student support fund focused on international students.

Find out more on the Cost of Living site

Cost of living comparison

See how compares with in key costs, including accommodation, weekly household bills, travel expenses and tuition fees.

University Comparison 2023/24
Tuition Fees        
Students from NI £4,710 £9,250 £9,250 £9,250
Students from GB £9,250 £9,250 £9,250 £9,250
International Students £20,800 £23,500 £25,290 £37,500
Scholarships
Accomodation & Utilities        
Student Accommodation [1] £140 £152 £181 £267
Private Accommodation [2] £491 £743 £665 £1,752
Monthly Groceries £87 £86 £119 £137
Travel        
Bus (Day ticket) £2.35 £4.50 Free (Under 22s) £4.60
Bike/Scooter Rental £1 / 30min £5.40 / 30min £1 / 20min £1.65 / 30min
Additional Flight Costs [3] N/A £152 £137 £145
Leisure        
Gym Membership [4] Off-peak: Free
Peak: £24 p/m
Peak: £24 p/m Peak: £18 p/m Peak: £25.50 p/m
Student Union Pint £2.80 £3.00 N/A £3.00
Cinema Ticket QFT: £4.50
Cineworld: £7.99
£7.99 £7.99 £13.50
Domino's Pizza (Medium) £18.99 £19.99 £19.99 £20.99
Notes:
  • Based on comparable RG Universities (Newcastle, Glasgow and UCL).
  • [1] Based on Single Ensuite accommodation, similar distance to Elms BT9 to campus. Includes utilities. Prices per month.
  • [2] Based on average room rental. Rental price analysis summarises the advertised rents for homes to let, calculated daily from the rental properties found by the Property Search Engine 04/09/2023. Prices per month.
  • [3] All costs are based on the three cheapest return flights in October, December and March, flying out on a Friday and returning on a Monday.
  • [4] Free off-peak membership of Queen's Sport is included for everyone living in Queen's Student Accommodation.
Sreyashi smiling in One Elmwood
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

As an international student, you will need a student visa to study in the UK.

The earliest you can apply for your visa is 6 months before you start your course. See information on student visas and additional costs.
 
In some cases, you may need to show you have a certain amount of money to meet your living costs - so be sure you're aware of any documentation required before arriving in the UK

MANAGING YOUR MONEY AS A STUDENT

  • Student loans

    If you're a full-time undergraduate student from the UK, you can apply for a maintenance loan to help with your living expenses. The loan is unlikely to cover all your university living expenses, which is why many students also take on part-time work to help fund their studies. 
     
    Scholarships, bursaries, and grants don't have to be repaid and can make a huge difference to your student budget. Extra funding is awarded for all sorts of reasons, not just for top achievers and straight-A students - explore scholarships and additional funding available at Queen's

  • Student discounts

    Many shops and restaurants in Belfast will offer student discounts - so don't be afraid to ask if it's available. If you want to take advantage of exclusive student savings, head over to our student discount page for more information. 

  • Creating a budget

    Student-friendly budget calculators are an effective way of helping you figure out how much money you'll have to spend each month. We recommend students try out the UCAS Budget Calculator to help manage their finances.

  • Support available to students with money concerns

    Speak to our Student Union Advice Team

    SU Advice, we have a dedicated team of advisers with a wealth of experience to help you with any issues you may be having - funding your studies included. Advice is free, confidential, and completely impartial and independent from the university. Find out more about drop-in services.

    Student financial support

    If you’re experiencing financial difficulty during your time at university, we have dedicated student financial support available such as the Student Support Fund and University Financial Assistance Fund. Find out more about financial support available here.

    Money managing resources

    If you need additional support regarding managing your money while at university, here are our recommended resources:

  • Student travel tips

    Save on travel with Translink

    If you're aged between 16-23 years old in Northern Ireland, you can apply for a yLink smartcard for all which gets you 50% off Translink bus and rail travel, as well as up to 50% off Belfast to Dublin Enterprise services.

    Over 24 and in full-time education? Apply for the free 24+ Student Railcard and access great savings on NI Railways services, as well as Enterprise services to Dublin.

    Getting around the city

    Using local taxis? If you happen to jump into a Value Cabs make sure you ask for a receipt as they offer a Receipt Treats scheme which gives exclusive offers and discounts with a wide range of local businesses, just present a Value Cabs receipt within 7 days of your journey!

    Should I commute to university?

    As a student from Northern Ireland, you may be wondering whether to move into university accommodation, privately rent in Belfast or live at home and make the commute to campus to help keep monthly costs down.

    We have many students who decided to live at home during their time at university, hear about their experience: 

    A guide to living with your parents while at Queen's | Stay at home and have a great student experience

  • Working while you study

    As a student in Belfast, you will be able to find part-time work opportunities in the city centre and on campus. Working part-time while studying can be a great way to gain experience that will be beneficial when it comes to applying for graduate jobs and offer an additional source of income.

    If you're an international student, you may be able to work up to 20 hours per week during term time (this does not affect work placements that are part of your course) - rules around working while studying in Northern Ireland will be outlined in your visa.

    There are also opportunities to work on campus, and feedback has shown that working for our university departments can be beneficial to students as we can work with you to help you balance your studies.

    Find out more about the opportunities available on campus.

  • Course costs

    A budget for books will be dependent on your course, lecturers will advise on recommended reading lists. Before you go ahead and buy brand-new books, it's a good idea to check the university's library as many key texts will be available online or to borrow. As well as that, you may be able to pick up the books second-hand for a cheaper price.

    Some courses may have additional costs for field trips, events, or supplies. Any additional costs for your chosen course will be detailed under the ‘Fees and Funding’ section on Course Finder.

    As a Queen's student, you will also get access to free Microsoft 365 software.

Hear from our Students
What I Eat in a Week as a Student

Kathryn Allen, Northern Ireland

My Weekly Budget as a Student in Belfast

Suhani Puneet Abrol, India

Budgeting Tips for Students in Belfast
Affordable Food and Drink

Affordable Social Life

"I was pleasantly surprised by the cost of living in Belfast. The student halls are very cheap in comparison to other UK universities accommodation. You can feed yourself for very little which means you’ve more money to do other things in Belfast."
Jacob Robinson, Newcastle

Read more: Dealing with the Cost of Living: A GB Student’s Perspective

Read more: Day out in Belfast spending only £10

Read more: The Affordable Student Experience: Belfast vs London vs Manchester

Read more: Take Advantage of Student Offers in Belfast

Read more Cost of Living blogs

Coming from Republic of Ireland?
Specific cost comparisons