Cost of living

Living expenses can vary greatly from student to student, however, we have a breakdown of typical student spending in Manchester for both catered and self-catered accommodation.

It's important to note that these figures are estimates and depending on a student’s circumstances, costs may vary.

Estimated living costs for undergraduate students (based on 2021/22 figures)

Costs 2021/22Undergraduate year
(41 weeks)
Weekly costs
(based on 41 weeks)
Accommodation (self-catered)* £5,780** £140.97
Meals (excluding meals out) £1,640 £40
Clothes £400  
Transport (includes local transport and travelling home/visiting friends) £460 Weekly, monthly and annual bus passes available
Other (eg books, equipment, mobile phone bill, socialising, laundry, photocopying and printing) £2,050 £50
TOTAL £10,330  

*For catered accommodation (breakfast and an evening meal on weekdays) add approximately £750 to the annual total – the 'meals' total will be less if the student chooses catered accommodation.

**The University of Manchester self-catered accommodation can range in price from £4,460 to £6,895 a year. Find out more about accommodation provision and the annual cost of accommodation at The University of Manchester.

Hear from our students

Some of our students talk about how they manage their budgets at university and what financial support they've received. 

Abisola, third-year Pharmacy student

What financial support do you receive from the University in addition to government support?

I'm a recipient of the Manchester Bursary.

How has that support helped you during your time at university?

It has provided me with financial support to cover costs of travel when going on course-mandatory placements. I was able to travel via bus and tram to attend placements in Wythenshawe, Salford and Stockport. The bursary also allowed me to a travel every day to my hospital summer placement in Stockport and covered living costs over the summer.

How did you find out you were eligible for a bursary/scholarship?

While applying to universities and reseaching bursaries, I looked on the University website and saw that eligibility for the Manchester Bursary is automatically calculated from your student finance information. The website said that the University would contact me if I was eligible, so I just had to sit tight and wait. I was then contacted in my first semester of my first year to confirm that I qualified for the bursary.

What questions did you have about student finance before starting at Manchester and where did you find the answers?

I had questions about what the average living costs of a student are, how the maintenance loan is calculated and how bursaries/scholarships work. I was able to ask and get answers through events put on by Student Finance England at my sixth form and by asking university students on the open days I attended.

What is your top tip for managing your money while at university?

My top tip for managing money is to always try to get a part-time or summer job if you can. I was able to work as a Student Ambassador for the University, which allowed me to work shifts that fitted my timetable. The Students' Union is a great way to keep updated on what student-friendly jobs are available and the Careers Service provide support in how to improve your CV and tips for interviews.

Tahira, final-year Biomedical Science student

Originally from a small town near Cambridge, I was excited about coming to a big city to study. I knew from my open day that Manchester was the only place I wanted to study in, and since living/studying here for more than two years I understand why. I'm now in my final year of my Biomedical Science degree and I’m looking forward to continuing my life in this city after I graduate.

I'm currently receiving financial support from the government with both a maintenance loan and a tuition fee loan. The University has helped me financially through The Manchester Bursary  a £2,000 annual cash bursary paid in three instalments throughout the academic year. This financial support has helped me massively throughout my time as my parents wouldn't have been able to cover the financial costs of my University experience, especially with me living away from home. The extra money from the bursary also gave me some ‘wiggle room’ when it came to my finances and meant I could treat myself without blowing my budget. I’d usually treat myself to some new clothes, chocolate cake (my favourite) or a house plant for my room.

Before starting at Manchester, I had many questions about student finance, such as “When do I have to start paying it back?” and “How big will my loan be?” The government website answered all my questions regarding student finance and left me feeling more confident. I discovered I was eligible for The Manchester Bursary when I received an email saying I was eligible one month into my first year.

My top tip for managing your money would be to calculate how much money you have after any guaranteed future payments (rent/bills) and then set aside a weekly/monthly budget with the rest of your disposable income. It'll prevent you from splurging when your student loan drops and helps you keep track of your finances.

Tarin, third-year Medicine student

What financial support do you receive from the University in addition to government support?

I receive the Manchester Bursary which amounts to £2,000 per academic year, as well as a £150 travel bursary from my medical school. Sometimes I receive an additional travel bursary when I have a placement at a particularly far-away hospital. This is usually £5 per day.

How has that support helped you during your time at university?

It’s definitely eased my worries about my financial burdens. Although I’m a commuting student and don’t have to pay as much weekly rent as a student in accommodation might, I had worries about commuting such as paying for my car insurance and petrol. The bursary has helped relieve some of that financial tension, making it much easier for me to travel to University and hospital placements. It’s also meant that I have some extra money on the side that I can use to treat myself to a nice meal or some shopping  degrees are hard and it’s important for me to take a break.

How did you find out you were eligible for a bursary/scholarship?

I received an email from the University in the first year of study. It was all automatic, I wasn’t even aware there was a bursary scheme that I was eligible for. 

What questions did you have about student finance before starting at Manchester and where did you find the answers?

Before starting at the University, I wondered mainly about the amount of money I would be eligible to receive so that I could plan my finances ahead of time. The Student Finance England website had a lot of these answers when I applied. The Students' Union and Student Services are also great resources to use during the academic year.

What is your top tip for managing your money while at university?

My top tip is plan a budget. It’s important to know where you’re spending your money: allocate a specific amount to the necessities like groceries, rent and petrol, and keep a little aside for yourself for a treat. If you budget, you have the most control over where your money is going and you can even save some on the side.

Zain, second-year Information Technology Management for Business student

What financial support do you receive from the University in addition to government support?

I received the Manchester Access Programme (MAP) bursary (Undergraduate Access Scholarship) which supports me throughout the duration of my degree.

How has that support helped you during your time at university?

This support has helped me a lot as I'm now able to focus more on my studies and cut down the hours on my part-time job. It's also helped pay for my essentials such as transportation and bills.

How did you find out you were eligible for a bursary/scholarship?

MAP were very helpful with explaining more about the bursary and the criteria for eligibility. The University will assess your financial situation to decide how much you're entitled to, but every MAP member was entitled to £1,000 for their first academic year, regardless of their financial circumstances.

What questions did you have about student finance before starting at Manchester and where did you find the answers?

I was very confused about how much we're entitled to regarding maintenance loan, and the entire process. The college support team and the MAP team were very helpful with the process as they guided me with my application. The process is quite straightforward and Student Finance tell you how much you're entitled to according to household income.

What is your top tip for managing your money while at university?

My top tip for managing your money is to split your expenses into three categories: needs, wants and savings. The things that you need come first so all expenses considered essential such as rent and bills should be your priority. Only after these have been paid can you can focus on wants and savings. This will vary depending on how many essential costs you have, so you might have more money for luxuries and savings. When it comes to wants and savings, I'd recommend splitting it equally between them, however enjoy your student life and don’t restrict yourself. I'd also say keep track of all your monthly direct debits and subscriptions, you'll be surprised with how many things you don’t actually use and how it drains your balance.