College · Thoughts

Costs of Top UK Universities for Americans

The University of Cambridge and The University of Oxford are two of the top five colleges in the world. They are generally ranked only behind Harvard, MIT, and Stanford in the global rankings. Being accepted at either school would be an honor, but the costs are high for international students.

The cheapest tuition for Cambridge is ~$32,000, $49,000 for engineering, and $84,000 for medical sciences. The tuition does not include the additional college fee of between ~$12,000 and $16,000. Add a final $18,000 in living expenses, and you are looking at a minimum of $60,000 annually.

Oxford tuition is no different. Ranging from ~$41,000 to $61,000 for non-medical majors. Another $15,000-$22,000 is necessary for nine-month living expenses—$ 56,000 minimum to attend.

Since these are non-US universities, there is no FAFSA or CSS. You will not be able to receive any Pell Grants or grants. Scholarships are your most likely option to make attending these schools possible. I will focus on scholarships available to undergraduate students.

Oxford Scholarships

Oxford has a database where you can search for applicable scholarships. The most famous scholarships, The Rhode and the Clarendon, are only available to graduate students.

Unfortunately, the search for international students yielded only two scholarships. One was for students from Singapore, and the other was for one specific college for $6000.

Not great.

Cambridge Scholarships

Similarly to Oxford, the most famous scholarships for Cambridge, The Gates Cambridge and Cambridge International Scholarship, are available for post-graduate students only.

Here is an overview of their process. It would be best if you were admitted to the college first and then hope to receive one of their scholarships. Cambridge Trust provides a search that yielded two results for undergraduates.

The Cambridge Trust Scholarship is a generic scholarship that applies to all international undergraduate students.

Rowan Williams Cambridge Scholarship is another opportunity, but it is designed for applicants from an area of instability or zone of conflict and, or have been, at risk of discrimination, persecution, suffering, violence, or other human rights abuse.

Cambridge emphasizes that scholarships are only for those they believe need financial support. Also, Cambridge Trust funding is only available to new students applying for a study course at the University of Cambridge. Once you have started your course, you are not eligible to apply.

The Trust receives over 6,000 applications annually and offers funding to around 10% of those.


If you want to attend one of the UK’s most prestigious universities, make sure you know what you want to study and hope to be accepted into Cambridge, as it will provide you with any hope of receiving financial aid. But be ready to pay full price.

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