How To Find Affordable Nursing Programs in the UK
To find affordable nursing programs in the UK as an international student, you have a few options.
1. Look at public universities
Public universities in the UK offer lower tuition for both domestic and international students.
Some of the most affordable include:
- The University of Edinburgh offers BSN and MSN programs ranging from £17,500 to £23,500 per year for international students.
- King’s College London has BSN programs starting at £23,000 per year.
- The University of Manchester offers undergraduate nursing degrees starting at £22,000 per year for international students.
Consider universities outside of London
Universities outside of London, especially in northern England and Scotland, often charge lower tuition and cost of living is more affordable. For example:
- The University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde in Scotland offer BSN programs starting at £17,500 per year. Living costs in Glasgow are estimated to be £12,000 per year for students.
- The University of York charges £22,000 per year for a BSN and living costs of about £11,000 per year.
Look at alternative entry routes
Some UK nursing schools offer alternative entry routes for international students that may charge lower fees. These include:
- Foundation degrees (2 years) then progressing to a full BSN. Foundation degree fees are typically £12,000 to £16,000 per year.
- Nursing associate programs (2 years) to become a nursing associate, then completing a nursing degree apprenticeship. Fees for nursing associate programs are around £9,000 per year.
- Studying for a nursing degree through distance or online learning. Fees tend to be £12,000 to £18,000 per year.
With affordable tuition, lower living costs outside London, and alternative program options, international students can find ways to save money on nursing degrees in the UK.
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Scholarships and Financial Aid for International Nursing Students in the UK
As an international student, studying nursing in the UK can be expensive. However, there are several scholarships and funding options available to help reduce costs.
1. University Scholarships
Many UK universities offer scholarships and bursaries for international nursing students. These are often merit-based, awarded based on your grades and test scores.
Some may also consider your financial need. Check with the schools you’re interested in to see what scholarships you may be eligible for and how to apply.
2. Private Scholarships
Various nonprofit organizations offer scholarships for international students in healthcare fields. For example, the Florence Nightingale Foundation provides scholarships for students from developing countries to study nursing in the UK.
The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan also offers funding for students from Commonwealth countries. Do some research online to find scholarships you may qualify for based on your country of origin, field of study, or other factors.
3. Student Loans
If scholarships don’t fully cover your costs, you may need to take out student loans. Many UK banks offer international student loans and lines of credit. Interest rates are often lower than private loans, and you don’t need a UK cosigner.
You will still need to meet eligibility criteria, such as having a UK student visa and acceptance from a recognized nursing program. Repayment usually doesn’t begin until after you graduate.
4. Part-Time Work
As an international student, you can work up to 20 hours per week during school terms and up to 40 hours per week during holidays.
Finding a part-time job is a great way to gain valuable work experience in the healthcare field and earn money to pay for your education.
Tips for Cutting Costs as an International Nursing Student in the UK
As an international student, studying nursing in the UK can be expensive. Here are some tips to help cut costs:
1. Apply for scholarships and bursaries
Many UK nursing schools offer scholarships and bursaries for international students.
Do some research on the school’s website to find options you may be eligible for, such as academic merit scholarships or bursaries for students from certain countries.
2. Consider a nursing school in a less expensive city
The cost of living in UK cities can vary quite a bit. Nursing schools in smaller cities and towns in the north of England or Wales often charge lower tuition and living expenses are more affordable.
Look at schools in cities like Cardiff, Swansea, Liverpool or Manchester which may save you money versus London.
3. Save on accommodation
Staying in university dorms is usually the cheapest option. If dorms are full or you prefer private housing, look for student housing, house shares or budget apartments.
4. Look into part-time jobs
As an international student, you may be permitted to work part-time during the school term and full-time during breaks.
Check with your school and UK Visas and Immigration for the rules around working during your studies.
5. Travel home less frequently
While it’s nice to visit home during school breaks, traveling back and forth can cost thousands per year in airfare and travel costs. Consider staying in the UK during shorter breaks to save money, and only travel home for extended holidays like summer or Christmas break.
With determination and an open mind, you can find ways to fund your nursing education in the UK, even as an international student. Do your research, apply for any and all opportunities you may qualify for, and don’t be afraid to get creative. Your dream of becoming a nurse in the UK can absolutely become a reality.