Help and Advice

Money Advice

Cost of Living

Your living costs will vary according to your circumstances. The following information is a basic guide to the cost of living in Leeds.

This page includes information on the following things:

  • Tuition fees - These will vary depending on whether you are a home or overseas student, and according to your course.

  • Accommodation - Costs will depend on whether you are living in University accommodation or the private rented sector.

  • Cost of living

Tuition fees. 

This applies to UK students and students who meet the following resident requirements. You must have 'settled' immigration status, or otherwise be free from immigration control, and have been a resident in the UK for three years preceding the start of your course, for purposes other than education.
This applies to students who do not meet the above requirements. If you are an EU student or an EEA migrant worker you may qualify for home fees. There are certain exceptions to the residence rules. If you have refugee status or exceptional leave to remain in the UK , you will qualify for home fees. If you have any doubts about your fee statues, you must clarify this before coming to the UK.

Here are some links you might find helpful:

Visit the Leeds Univeristy Fees webpages for up to date infomation on fees for the current year or previous years.


Accommodation costs in Leeds vary according to the type of accommodation you stay in and whether it is University accommodation or in the private rented sector. When you sign a contract for accommodation you will also be expected to pay a deposit.

University accommodation costs 

The deposit for University accommodation is £200. Most contracts are for 42 weeks, though catered accommodation is for 39 weeks. 51 week contracts are available in some accommodation for Postgraduates. The rent in University accommodation includes utilities (gas, water and electricity). Visit the University's accomodation pages for up to date pricings. 

The Money Ambassadors surveyed students in 2013 about the cost of rent and the most common rent cost was over £90 per week. Read more about the findings here.

Cost of Living.

NUS research.

In previous years the NUS  have produced an estimated average student expenditure for the  academic year (for a standard 39 week period).  The figures are for higher education undergraduates in England, and are based on research such as the Student Income and Expenditure Survey produced by the Government, as well as their own Accommodation Costs Survey. NUS cost of living figures

The most recent Student Lifestyle report was completed in (2010) there is a link below. This survey covers National trends in student lifestyle choices but also looks at regional figures.

To help budget and prepare for life in Leeds you may find one particular section of the survey useful: weekly spends. Please see below weekly spend figures comparing Yorkshire with the National average. These figures may range from person to person in practice but these figures could be used as a guideline of how you might budget. You can read the report in more detail in the link below.


Yorkshire (£)

National Average (£)

Going out/ Entertainment



Alcoholic Drinks












Non-alcoholic drinks









Internet access












NUS Student Lifestyle report 2010

In addition to this report the NUS did a survey of 14,500 students entitled the "Pound in your Pocket". The interim report from this can be downloaded here, Pound in your Pocket Interim Report.

The Money Ambassadors completed a survey with Leeds University students in 2013. This was a survey of 98 students about the costs of living. Here is a table of the most common amounts spent on each item.


Amount per week




£20 - £30

If you buy lunch on campus

£10 - £20

Energy bills, converted from monthly question in survey

£4 – £7


£10 - £20


Under £10

Approximate total


To download the full report please see here.

Basic amount you need to live on.

The government calculates the minimum you need to live on based on rates called the applicable amount. Your applicable amount will depend on your age, circumstances and who is in your household. By looking at these amounts you can get an idea of how much the government think is the minimum you need to live on. If you have a number of additional outgoings such as hobbies or high travel costs you may struggle to live within these amounts.

Your individual circumstances may not be covered here and you may need to ask additional advice in order to set a budget or apply to UniversityThis information does not include additional amounts needed to cover the costs of a disability.

These amounts do not include money to cover rent and are weekly figures:

  • A single claimant aged 18-24 needs £57.35
  • A single person aged 25 or over or a lone parent aged over 18 - needs £72.40
  • A couple (both aged over 18) needs £113.70
  • You will need £66.33  per child that you have.

This information has been checked in July 2014 and is likely to change in April 2015. 

Other Essential Costs.


If you live in the private sector you will probably have to pay utilities. These include gas, electricity, water and the telephone if there is a landline. Check your contract to see if any of these are included in the rent. provide average costs for gas, electricity and water costs.

You may also want to do a price comparison to check you are getting the best deal. Consumer Focus have a list of price comparison sites that they accredit to the confidence code.

If you are not studying on a full time course or do not meet the other requirements for exemption, you may have to pay Council Tax.


The NUS reports that students spend an average of £30 per week on food. This is for a single student with no dependents. You can reduce the cost of grocery shopping by buying fresh food, planning your meals, sharing food with your housemates and shopping at Leeds Market and budget supermarkets.

TV License

If you live in halls you need an individual TV license if you have a TV in your room. If you only have a shared TV in a communal area, one license should be ok. If you live in a shared house, you normally only need one license for the property. If you are using a laptop to watch TV you only require a TV licence if you are viewing programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV. If you watch them via catch-up services, then you do not.

Your TV license is valid for the whole year; if you move you can take it with you. If you move house you can reclaim any unused quarters of the license. This mean that if you buy your license early in the year and go home for the summer you may get some money back. The exact costs can be found the TV Licensing website. 

Costs related to study.

These are not included in the general living expenses listed above.

Course materials

You will need to buy books, and pay for things like photocopying, printer credits, field trips and having your dissertation bound. Unite (2007) reports that students spend about £14-15 a week on course-related items.

Travel Costs

You might need to buy a weekly bus pass to get you to and from lectures, and you will need to consider costs to go home during the holidays and for visits. If you are under 26 you can buy a young person's railcard and save money on train fares. Visit

Start-up Costs

If you are coming to University for the first time, you will need extra cash to buy things like bedding, pots and pans and so on. The Love Leeds Charity Shop in the Union often gives away bedding packs at the start of the year. The University Accommodation office also offers a bedding pack service for £28 for a single set or more for a double. To apply or find out more here.

Some international students are required to register with the police on arrival in the UK. This costs £34.

Non-essential costs.

Remember that you will also need extra cash for things like socialising, leisure activities and joining societies. You must budget for essentials first and then see how much you have left over to socialise. Unite (2007) reports that students spend on average £35 a week on going out. There is also the NUS Student Lifestyle report from 2010 with figures quoted above as a guideline.

We recommend shopping around before you commit to any costs. You may be interested in paying for TV, internet or phone connections to your house. It is worth shopping around to ensure a student friendly contract (so you aren't paying for months when you have left) and prices. There are many comparison sites including:

This information is updated as often as possible. Leeds University Union can not be held responsible if the information here is incorrect. Last updated 26/01/2015.

We make every effort to ensure information on these pages is accurate and up to date, however policies, procedures and regulations are subject to change. We therefore cannot accept responsibility for any loss, damage or inconvenience suffered as a result of using our pages. Read the full disclaimer.

Back to top