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Undergraduate Study


Living costs

'Living costs' cover whatever you need to pay for, excluding tuition fees, while you're at university. For example, accommodation, food, course costs/study materials, personal expenses and transport.

To help you with your financial planning and to give you an idea of how much your living costs might be, we’ve worked with the Cambridge Students’ Union to carry out a detailed survey of our students to find out how much they’re spending while living in Cambridge.  

Using this information, we’ve provided some estimated monthly living costs. These are just a guide and will vary depending on your lifestyle while you’re at University. However, they should give you a good idea of how much you need to budget. 

Monthly living costs 2024-25





Personal items


Social activities


Study costs



Total £1,216

Please note: these costs take into account projected inflation for 2024-25. 

Living costs for the year

The amount you'll need each year will depend on how long you're living in Cambridge. This might vary depending on whether you live in the UK or abroad. 

Most students will only be in Cambridge during term time (approximately 9 months), but international students might want to stay in Cambridge during vacations so they might be here for a bit longer.

  • For 9 months, you should need around £10,950
  • For 12 months, you should need around £14,600

Please note that maintenance rates are set more than a year in advance based on inflation rates at the time. This means the cost of living may have risen before you arrive in Cambridge. These costs were calculated in May 2023 according to the Bank of England inflation forecast at that time. Figures are rounded up to the nearest £10. They are intended to be indicative and were reviewed in November 2023 following the original calculation. Updated figures will be available from September 2024. 


You'll usually live in one of our Colleges for the duration of your course. Most Colleges offer a range of accommodation with different facilities and often at different price points.

One of the advantages of College accommodation is that you won't need to pay rent for a full year – all of our Colleges have shorter contracts available. Minimum contract lengths in 2023-24 range from 27 to 39 weeks.

Check individual College websites for details about the facilities their accommodation offers, how much it costs and what contract lengths might be available.

See the Accommodation webpage for general information about accommodation.


You’ll eat lots of your meals in College, whether that’s a quick meal in the cafeteria or a more formal three-course ‘formal hall’. Formal halls give you the opportunity to dine in style for a very reasonable price. They usually take place at least once a week and are completely optional.

Colleges also provide basic self-catering facilities, so you might have the option to prepare your own food. 

Costs of meals will vary so you should check individual College websites for details, but in most cases, food in College is great value. We’ve provided some typical costs below as a guide, but you should check individual College websites for current meal costs.

  • Individual cafeteria-style meals typically cost £4-£7.
  • 'Formal halls'  usually cost around £10-£16 at most Colleges.

Some Colleges levy a separate charge towards the running costs of the College kitchens – a Kitchen Fixed Charge. In 2023-24, this cost ranged from £258 to £686 per year in those Colleges that make such a charge. Some Colleges also have a minimum meal charge, which is paid in advance and provides credit for meals bought in College (see individual College websites for details).

Study costs

There are some general course costs that apply across all courses. Details of these are included on our study costs page. You can find details of additional course costs specific to your chosen course on the relevant course entries.

The University’s numerous libraries and IT facilities help to keep your costs down, and many Colleges and some departments offer grants to help with particular costs (see individual College and department websites for details).

Personal expenses and transport

What you spend on food, clothing, transport etc depends on your lifestyle. However, there are lots of free recreational facilities plus loads of College-based and student-run activities that don’t cost very much. What’s more, Cambridge is a small place so transport is cheap or free – most students walk or cycle and there’s a ‘Universal’ bus service that offers discounted fares to students.

College fees

Home fee status students who are eligible for public support don't normally have to pay an additional College fee, unless they're studying for a second undergraduate degree (affiliated students). International students should take this fee into account when planning their finances. More information about College fees is given on the international fees and costs webpage.

Financial planning for your studies

The information above outlines what you’re likely to spend at University, but you can find further information about financial support and managing your finances:

  • Managing a budget – Make sure that you will be able to get the most of your money. Advice is available from independent sources about good ways to work out your budget and plan your spending, for example the Money Saving Expert student budgeting planner
  • Financial support – explore your options for government and University support, including our Cambridge Bursary Scheme.
  • How much will your family need to contribute? We’ve provided details about the level of maintenance loan and Cambridge Bursary you might be eligible for here. This should help you to work out how much the government expects your household to be able to contribute to your living costs.