Can I afford it?

Tuition Fees

The (UK) Government regulated tuition fee is £9,250 for home, first degree undergraduates.

You can apply to the Students Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for a tuition fee loan to cover this cost.

As tuition is free for Scots going to Scottish universities fees can appear as an issue. However, it must be noted that as the tuition fee loan completely covers these they are zero cost to the student at the time of studying and repayment is means related and gradual. Furthermore, the likelihood of higher than average income for Cambridge graduates (see Sutton Trust report) makes this a sound investment rather than a penalty.

Living Costs

As noted, Cambridge ranks second only to Cardiff as the most affordable city in the UK for students according to the NatWest Student Living Index 2022.

Students live in College or College accommodation and only pay rent when in residence; i.e. perhaps 27 weeks a year rather than having to take accommodation for a full 52 weeks a year. You can also take most meals in College at competitive rates.

To contribute to these costs, you can apply to the Students Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for both a Student Bursary (non-repayable) and a Student Loan. The amounts available differ according to various criteria but the following is indicative.

Household IncomeBursaryStudent Loan
£0 to £20,999£2,000£6,100
£21,000 to £23,999£1,125£6,100
£24,000 to £33,999£500£6,100
£34,000 and above£0£5,100
SAAS Bursaries and Student Loans

Loan Repayment

You normally won’t have to make any repayments while you are studying. Repayment starts after you leave your course and are earning over a certain (threshold) amount a year. Currently this threshold is £25,375 per annum.

Cambridge Bursary Scheme

The Cambridge Bursary Scheme gives non-repayable bursaries for living costs to eligible students.

A Cambridge Bursary up to a maximum of £3,500 per year is available to UK undergraduates depending on household income. The Cambridge Bursary is an annual gift, it is not a loan and it does not need to be repaid.

You do not need to take out a student loan to receive the Cambridge Bursary but you do need to be assessed as eligible for UK Government funding.

Additional Funding Sources

  • Faculty awards, grants and prizes are given in recognition of academic achievement.
  • College grants and loans are available for books and equipment, for academic or other achievement, for travel and to help with unforeseen financial difficulties.
  • Stormzy Scholarships are available for Black UK Students.

Further information on exceptional financial assistance is available here.


It is estimated that in 2023-24 students should allow approximately £11,020 for living costs. Details here.

So, for example, if household income is £20,000 then available grants and loans will more than cover the costs.

Source OF FUNDSAm0unt
SAAS Bursary£2000
SAAS Loan£6,100
Cambridge Bursary£3,500
Budget example, annual household income £20,000

If household income is £30,000 per annum then available grants and loans would cover almost 90% of anticipated costs.

Source OF FUNDSAm0unt
SAAS Bursary£500
SAAS Loan£6,100
Cambridge Bursary£3,043
Budget example, annual household income £30,000