Everything you need to know from budgeting and avoiding financial worries, to fees, grants, and your College Bill.

Money management

Coming to College will probably involve your most significant experience to date of managing money and budgeting.

  • The total living cost of a year’s undergraduate study is most likely to exceed £11,000.
  • You need to consider overall duration of your course as a whole and budget accordingly.
  • Your first term will be a good budgeting exercise due to the timing of the bill for your current spending.
University card

All Cambridge students are issued with a University card when they join us. This card is used in College to gain access to restricted areas (such as accommodation blocks or the College Library).

The card becomes your 'plastic money' in College! This serves effectively as an interest‐free 'credit card' within Sidney, with a settlement period equal to a Full Term.

You can check your balance whenever you like on the Sidney Student Portal once you join.

Avoiding financial worries

Money worries should not be allowed to spoil your enjoyment of your studies and your College life.

Most financial difficulties can:

  • be avoided altogether by sensible budgeting
  • be managed over time
  • be alleviated by financial support through the College's Student Welfare Fund

Should you ever find yourself in financial trouble, please remember that we're here to help. There's no reason to hide the problem, and it will be typically much easier and quicker to solve if you discuss it with us.


Budgeting is not one of the thrills of university life, but in most cases the few minutes of your time devoted to it will leave you free from money worries.

Budgeting cannot remove all financial emergencies (from major unexpected expenses, to changes in family circumstances and support), but even in these cases, a well-presented financial summary will strengthen a claim for financial support from the College.

Budgeting involves:

  • identifying and adding up all available sources of income over a given period of time
  • identifying and adding up all the expenses, which can be expected over the same period. (Ideally, this planned expenditure will include a contingency reserve to meet unexpected costs)
  • subtracting expenditure from income to obtain the planned surplus (positive balance) or deficit (negative balance) for the period

The Tutorial and Student Finance Manager is available to offer advice and help you review your financial situation. When serious difficulties arise, your Tutor can become involved in exploring possibilities of financial support through the College Student Welfare Fund and University provisions.

Costs to consider


Sidney guarantees College-owned accommodation throughout your undergraduate course (up to four years).

Weekly accommodation charges are inclusive of all costs directly attributable to the room (ie heating, water, internet access, maintenance and insurance), and also include a contribution to the fixed costs of communal dining facilities which all students are encouraged to use.

A great perk about studying and living at Cambridge is that it can be much cheaper to live here compared to other universities. Terms at Cambridge are short, and at Sidney the minimum contract length is only 30 weeks for undergraduates, so the savings you make are substantial compared with paying the same weekly rent on a conventional twelve-month lease, as many students at other universities are required to do.

The University of Cambridge has three terms in each academic year (known as Michaelmas, Lent, and Easter Term) and undergraduate students need to be in residence for full term. Sidney undergraduates have a 30-week accommodation licence which is split into three fixed periods of 10 weeks to cover each term. Students are expected to clear their rooms at the end of each 10-week period so that it can be used for other purposes whilst they are away. With permission, students may remain in their College accommodation during some or all of the vacations, with the extra vacation periods being charged at a vacation rent of +5%. Students may opt for a 39-week contract at the start of the academic year if they plan to stay in College throughout the vacation periods and wish to keep their room for the full 39-week period from start of Michaelmas Term to the end of Easter Term.

Rooms across the College are allocated into five bands (Band A, B, C, D and E) by the students’ union depending on size and facilities. For 2022-23, the termly room-rents for first-year undergraduate students will be £1,520 (Band E) to £1,784 (Band A).

Students eligible for the Cambridge Bursary (see below) will receive a rent rebate award which will typically be equivalent to 5% of the Band C accommodation rate. The level of rent rebate will be reviewed annually.

Check out our undergraduate accommodation page for more information about accommodation at Sidney Sussex.


The Cambridge Bursary Scheme is available to UK and EU students from lower income backgrounds and can be used to help reduce the cost of your tuition fees.

Catering charge

For 2022-23, the termly pre-paid catering charge, referred to as the Minimum Meal Charge (MMC), for undergraduates will be £51.70. This pre-paid charge (as noted on our Eating here page) will see each student receiving £51.70 termly credit to spend on College dining. Any unspent credit will be carried over to the next term, but students are encouraged to use this before the end of the academic year as any unspent credit at this stage will be removed. Catering charges will be reviewed annually.

The quality of our meals is excellent, and many students can be found eating in Hall on a daily basis!

You can read more about the catering charge on our Eating here page.

College Bill

Students will receive a bill from the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager. Each bill includes the residential (room) charge and catering charge.

In addition to above, the College Bill will also include the College fee for any international students or students taking a second degree at Sidney.

Please note that where these charges are made in advance, charges for any sundry expenditure are made in arrears; for example, the bill at the start of the Lent and Easter Term includes the bill for food consumed in Hall, and printing for the previous Term.

Paying your College Bill

All invoices will be emailed directly to your Cambridge (@cam.ac.uk) email address. Invoices are sent on or around the first day of each Full Term.

Payment terms are 10 days from date of invoice and your payment can be made via the Student Portal, Online Banking or by Bank Transfer. International students can also pay through TransferMate.

The Student Portal

The online portal for Sidney students offers a secure service through which you can make your debit and credit card payments. Simply follow the link (https://sidnet.sid.cam.ac.uk/student/finance/), sign-in with your Raven login and select the following options:

  • Pay your College Bill online
  • Fees and Charges (from the menu bar)

On the left hand side of the screen you will be able to see your College Bill Balance (last Statement). In the box provided enter the amount that you are about to pay. When you select the option to ‘Make Payment’ you will now be taken to the Monek secure payment gateway where you will be asked to enter the details required to complete your card transaction.

Online Banking or Bank Transfer

A direct transfer to the College’s Bank Account. Bank details are included on your College bill and are also available on request from the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager.


TransferMate provides a transparent, secure payment method for international students to reduce additional bank fees and improve their payment experience. TransferMate helps international students pay tuition and fees in their local currency from any country.

What are the benefits? 

  • Faster payment processed within 24 to 48 hours  
  • Allows you to pay in your local currency to a local bank account
  • Great exchange rates and zero banking charges
  • 24-hour customer service from TransferMate  
  • 24-hour online tracking of payments

How do I make a payment with TransferMate?

  1. Click on the TransferMate payment link: https://sidneysussexcollege.transfermateeducation.com/
  2. Choose the country you’re paying from and your preferred payment method
  3. Register your one-time set up account by providing your details
  4. Make your payment with the provided instructions
  5. Track your payment throughout the process

Contact TransferMate

T +353 1887 2892
E: edu@transfermate.com
Skype: international.student.payments

College fee

All international/overseas fee status students, and those Home fee status students who aren't eligible for tuition fee support (ie affiliate students who are studying for a second degree), normally have to pay College fees in addition to University tuition fees.

The College fee covers the cost to your College of providing a range of educational, domestic and pastoral services and support.

Annual College fees may vary between Colleges and in many cases are fixed for the duration of your course. Discover the latest College fee for all Cambridge Colleges, including Sidney, on the University website.

Living costs

There are various living costs you will need to consider during your studies at Cambridge. Average living costs are estimated on the University website, although this will obviously depend on your lifestyle!

Living costs for EU and international students will be somewhat higher, due to the costs of travelling to Cambridge.

Social life

Both Sidney and the University have a wide range of clubs and societies. Almost all of these are open to students at little or no cost.

There is also a student bar on-site and the Sidney gym is good value.

There are plenty of free museums in Cambridge to enjoy.

Student contents insurance

By partnering with Endsleigh we’ve arranged contents insurance for all our students staying with us in our residence.

It is important all students confirm their cover to ensure you understand what is and isn’t covered.

Visit confirm your cover to see:

  • What is and what isn’t covered
  • Policy excess – the amount you pay when you make a claim 
  • How to make a claim
  • Personalise cover 

The student insurance options have been designed to cover the risks that you may encounter whilst living in student accommodation and away from home. 

Study costs

Both Cambridge and Sidney Sussex have excellent library provision, meaning that students are not required to buy many, if any, books.

At Sidney, the Richard Powell Library has around 40,000 books, with core texts for all first- and second-year courses, general texts for third- and fourth-year courses, and a wide range of periodicals.

The College has a range of study grants available to help fund research, travel, or other study-related expenses.

We also award prizes, in the form of money or book grants, to students who have performed extremely well in University or College examinations.


Our fantastic central location means that our students have almost no transport costs.

All our accommodation, and most faculties and departments, are within easy walking or cycling distance.

One of the many perks to being a Sidneyite is that we are surrounded by a wide range of shops, restaurants, bars, and nightlife so you won't ever need to travel far!

Tuition fees

You can discover the latest tuition fees on the University of Cambridge website.

Please contact the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager if you have any queries relating to finance at Sidney.