Finance

The funding you receive through your Chevening Fellowship is intended to support costs related to your participation in the programme. Your Chevening Fellowship will usually cover academic/programme fees, return economy travel and a living stipend. The funding amounts may vary per programme as they will be adjusted to account for inclusions built in as part of the fellowship programme structure. The UK has a reputation for being expensive, especially if you live in London. While many of the costs you will incur in the UK may be covered by your fellowship, some things won't be. The information below will give you some tips on expected costs, how to budget and ways of making the most of your money.

Award finance

As part of a fellowship, Chevening covers a number of costs including flights and accommodation. Your final award letter will confirm all financial elements of your award, and they may include some or all of the following:

Arrival allowance

Your arrival allowance is intended to cover expenses related to your initial arrival in the UK. This may include set up costs for housing, transport, books, stationary and suitable clothing (in cases of winter arrival). You will receive this allowance on almost immediantly on arrival into the UK, and will usually be paid to you via a cash card. You may also use this allowance to cover any excess baggage requirements you may have on your flight to the UK (otherwise you should travel within airline limits where possible) along with the cost of getting from the airport to your university and the police registration fee if required.

Stipend

Your monthly living/maintenance allowance (called a stipend) is only intended to cover reasonable living costs while you are in the UK.

The stipend is calculated based on the region in which you study and on the inclusions built you’re your programme. Maintenance allowance is calculated to cover your own basic expenses only, such as accommodation, meals, personal expenses, phone bill, daily travel and any required course resources. You should also use your stipend to cover the cost of NHS charges for prescriptions, dental treatment and opticians.

Your living allowance will be paid as per the  fellowship dates listed in your final award letter.

Dates of payment

If your fellowship programme is for three months or less, you will received one lump sum payment which includes all three months’ stipend, plus any additional allowances as outlined in your final award letter. If your programme is for more than three months, your first payment will include your first two months stipends along with your arrival allowance.

Your stipend will be paid by the 21st of each month. If the 21st falls on a weekend, it will be paid to you on the next working day. If you have not received a stipend payment due to you by the 1st of the month, you should contact your fellowships officer immediately who will look into the matter on your behalf.

Payments on your cash card are made for your arrival in the UK and will not appear until this date.

Suspension of stipend

In some instances the Secretariat may suspend your stipend. Your stipend may be suspended if you do not comply with any of the terms and conditions of your fellowship, or if you do not return compulsory documentation to the Secretariat. You will not receive stipend when you are absent from the UK for longer than 30 days. If you do not notify your fellowship officer of your return, it will be assumed that you are still out of the UK. Your stipend may also be stopped early where you elect to return home early and submit your dissertation from overseas. 

Thesis grant

You may also be entitled to receive a thesis allowance as a contribution towards the cost of producing a thesis/dissertation in cases where such a document is required for their degree. This will be confirmed to you in your final award letter. The thesis grant is intended to help defray such costs as printing, copying, binding, etc. Where you are entitled to a thesis grant, this will be included in your award letter and the amount will be listed there. Where you are entitled to this allowance, it will be paid directly into your bank account or cash card. This allowance cannot be advanced to you.

Study travel grant

Study travel grants are sometimes available to fellows who wish to pursue activities related to their field of studies/expertise which are not built into their fellowship, and is determined to enhance their experience in the UK. The study travel grant is a maximum amount to £200 over the duration of your fellowship and must be approved by your fellowship supervisor to confirm their support and that the activity does not conflict with mandatory activities scheduled for your fellowship.

The study travel grant form is available from your fellowship officer and you should apply for the grant a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the start of the activity date. No study travel grant will be paid in retrospect. Fellows are advised that evidence of costs/payments (including receipts/invoices) are required for all grant applications.

Visa fees

Your fellowship award package includes reimbursement of your UK visa application fee. This will be paid to you on arrival to the UK and will be the advertised fee as listed on the UK Visa and Immigration website at the time of the issuance of visa guidance.

Fellows who follow alternative advice to that provided by the Welfare and immigration team will forfeit this reimbursement.

Managing your finances while you are in the UK

Living in the UK can be quite expensive, particularly if you are not used to the high prices. The information below is designed to help you manage your money as effectively as possible, ensuring that you have a memorable experience in the UK.

Receiving your stipend

If you are receiving your allowances via a cash card, you will have received it prior to your departure by the British embassy or high commission. If your fellowship programme is for three months or less, you will receive one lump sum payment which includes all three months’ stipend, plus any additional allowances as outlined in your final award letter.

If your programme is for more than three months, your first payment will include your first two months stipends along with your arrival allowance. Payments on your cash card are made for your arrival in the UK and will not appear until this date.

Instructions on activating your cash card will be provided directly to fellows by the Chevening Fellowships team.

Alternatively, your stipend may be paid to your university, who will then distribute it to you. This is due to most UK banks not allowing international students to open bank accounts when they are in the UK for less than six months.

Living costs

The cost of living in the UK varies according to where in the UK you live. London and other big cities are more expensive than other areas. The International Student Calculator gives a general guide to the cost of living in the UK, but you should ask your university for more detailed local costs of living. 

The following information is a rough guide, which gives you an indication of how much you can expend to spend on everyday essentials while in the UK.

Accommodation

GBP 70-125 per week for a shared house or halls of residence.*

Bills (water, gas and electricity) GBP 65-85 per month. Check with your landlord about providers as some specify that you must use a particular company.*
Food

GBP 20-40 per week. Costs will vary depending on where you shop.*

Transport GBP 20-40 per week. We recommend buying a season ticket, which will reduce costs. If in London, Oyster cards are the cheapest method of travel.*

 

*If based in London, you can expect to pay the top end of these price bands, or in some cases, more. Please remember this is only a rough guide which should only be used as an estimate.

Travel insurance

We recommend that you buy travel insurance before you leave home, to cover your journey and your stay in the UK. Depending on your visa, you may be required to pay the NHS health surcharge as part of your visa requirements. If your visa does not require you to pay the NHS health surcharge, you are strongly recommended to purchase travel insurance. A pro-rated contribution of up to £200 will be provided to assist with the cost of either the NHS health surcharge or travel insurance.  

Using healthcare

The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s state healthcare system providing a wide range of health care services including appointments with a doctor, hospital treatment and dental care. The NHS provides emergency treatment to all. As per the above, depending on your visa, you may be required to pay the NHS health surcharge. If you are required to do so, it allows you access NHS services in the same way as UK residents. This means the service is free, with the exception of prescriptions, dental and optical treatments.

If you are registered with an NHS doctor, you are entitled to the services of an NHS dentist, although you will have to make a contribution as dental treatment is never free. Non-emergency optical treatment (such as eye tests and prescriptions for spectacles and contact lenses) are not free either. You should use your monthly living allowance (stipend) to pay for any dental and optical treatment you have in the UK.

Although you may be entitled to use the NHS dental service, please be aware that not all dental practices accept NHS patients and you may find that registration with an NHS dentist is difficult. However your university may have a list of local dentists accepting NHS patients so please do check.

If you choose to have any private healthcare during your time in the UK, please be aware that the cost will be significantly higher and you will be responsible for covering the cost using your personal finances as your Chevening Fellowship does not include any specific funding for private healthcare.