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Undergraduate Finance

An Affordable University

Cambridge is by no means a particularly expensive university, and here's why:

  • The Home/EU tuition fee is identical to that charged by most other UK universities; current expenses (and room rents in particular) are generally lower than elsewhere;
  • Unlike private accommodation, which is typically rented by the quarter or the calendar year, College accommodation is only charged for the period of residence (thirty weeks);
  • Students generally have no transport costs as most Colleges and University Departments are easily reached on foot or by bicycle;

If you're eligible for a student loan, you have a right to borrow the funds needed to cover your tuition fee. This tuition fee loan will only become repayable after graduation, and only while your income is above a certain threshold (periodically reviewed by the Department for Education).

Tuition Fee

UK and EU students can discover the latest Home/EU tuition fees on the University of Cambridge website. 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.

International students (ie those resident outside the European Union, including students from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) pay higher tuition fees, as well as a College fee (details below), and can discover more about the international fees and costs on the University website.

UK and EU students do not pay an additional College fee, unless they are studying for a second degree.

College Fee

UK and EU students do not pay an additional College Fee, unless they are studying for a second degree. The College Fee varies between Colleges, but is typically between £6,500 and £9,000 per year. Sidney’s undergraduate College Fee for 2019/20 is set at £8,925.

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 transport costs of travelling to Cambridge.


In 2019/2020, room rents range between £1,154-£1,356 per term, depending on size and facilities.


Sidney, like most other Cambridge Colleges, charges its students an annual contribution (known as the 'kitchen fixed charge' or KFC) towards the running costs of the College kitchens.

This charge is set at £180 (per term) for students living in College in 2019/2020.

As a result of the KFC, meals in Hall are provided at very low prices.


The Student Contents and Possessions Insurance policy is provided through Endsleigh Insurance Services limited, who were originally founded by the National Union of Students in 1965 and remain the only insurance provider recommended by the NUS.  

The premium for this policy is £16.78 and this will provide you with cover throughout the academic year, both in and outside of term. The premium will be payable by all members residing in College single occupant accommodation (excludes couples flats) and will be applied to each members Michaelmas Term College Bill.

Policy documentation including the Certificate of Insurance (policy summary) which details the items and level of cover provided can be found at: where you will also find the document for Key Facts (including how to make a claim) as well as the Policy wording, including the full terms and conditions.

In addition to the standard policy covered by the premium Endsleigh are able to offer additional cover to any individual who wishes to customise their cover for specific items. Again details can be found at:

Check your cover


College Bill

At the beginning of each term, students will receive a College Bill. Each Bill includes the residential (room) charge for that Term, the proportion of the Kitchen Fixed Charge (the set contribution towards kitchen overheads, see 'Food' below) for that Term, and the appropriate installment of their tuition fee - or that portion of it for which they are liable if not taking the tuition fee loan.

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 the 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.

The College Bill lists the amounts you owe the College: it is issued at the beginning of each Term.  Any queries you may have concerning your College Bill including, for example, a need to settle in installments - should be addressed to the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager, Mr David Graves (), Tel. +44 1223 7 60972).  Who will advise you as appropriate, and if necessary will suggest the involvement of the Tutors and the College’s Student Welfare Fund.

Paying your College Bill

All invoices will be emailed directly to your Cambridge ( 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 payment methods are:

By Debit Card through SidNet on the Sidney Sussex College Website – Sign-in using your Raven Login, Select Finance and then Pay College Bill. By Online Banking or Bank Transfer – A transfer to the College Bank Account (Bank details are included on your bill and are available on request from

Charges may be imposed for late payment of invoices. However, any extenuating circumstances should be discussed with the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager who may agree a deferment.

  • By UK Cheque – Payable to ‘Sidney Sussex College’
  • Sterling Bank Draft - Obtainable from an international bank and payable to 'Sidney Sussex College'

College Deposit

All new undergraduates and graduates pay a £250 College Deposit, included in their first College Bill.

  • The Deposit is held against any non-payment of amounts owed to the college at the end of a student’s period of study.
  • The amount is held until the student permanently leaves Cambridge on the completion of their studies or for other reasons.
  • At no time will it be used to offset against College charges during the course of study.

All students will receive a notification from the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager about return of College Deposits at the time of graduation or leaving and will be required to provide bank details to enable the refund.

Any student permanently leaving the University for reasons other than graduation will be directed to the Student Finance Manager.

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 £9,000.
  • 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.

Avoiding Financial Worries

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 the College.  Your query should be addressed in the first instance to Tutorial and Student Finance Manager, Mr David Graves (), Tel. +44 1223 7 60972).

University Card

  • An interest-free ‘credit card’ within Sidney.
  • A settlement period equal to a Full Term.
  • Used to buy meals in Hall, drinks from the Buttery, pay for printing, and College merchandise.
  • You can check your balance at the Porters' Lodge and the Tutorial Office.


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, Mr David Graves (), Tel. +44 1223 7 60972) 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.

College Access Bursaries and Grants

Through the generosity of alumni and benefactors, the College is able to provide a number of substantial income-related bursaries.

Our current undergraduate access bursaries, which are typically of £1000 p.a., and are administered by the College’s Student Awards Committee, are awarded to students in their first year of residence as undergraduates and may be renewed in each subsequent year of their undergraduate residence. Awards are made on the basis of financial need, as determined by the Student Awards Committee and assessments of household income via Student Finance England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.

The awarding of undergraduate access bursaries is not subject to an application process. Award holders, as determined by the Student Awards Committee, will be notified of their award during the Michaelmas Term.  Details of public financial support schemes vary between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, you will also want to consult the relevant government website: 

DirectGov Education and Learning (England)
Student Finance Wales
Student Awards Agency (Scotland)
Student Finance Northern Ireland

The core funding provided by the Tuition Fee Loan and Student Maintenance Loan is supported by a number of additional financial income avaliable to students from low income families, or whose financial circumstances have worsened unpredictably.  Several major schemes are available to all Cambridge undergraduate students:

  • Cambridge Bursaries.
  • Access to Learning Fund Award.
  • Bell, Abbot and Barnes Funds.   These funds provide aid to undergraduate students in financial difficulties. The full regulations governing their use may be found in the University's Statutes and Ordinances, as amended from time to time.  Note that the Application Forms for the Funds are only available through the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager, and should be filled in by your Tutor.
  • The Crane Charity.  The Crane's Charity is the principal medical charity in the University. It exists to provide financial assistance to members of the University who are in residence and need treatment for physical or mental illness, or for injuries resulting from accidents, provided that the treatment cannot conveniently be obtained under the National Health Service. Awards are not normally made for ordinary dental treatment or spectacles or for treatment which has already taken place. The charity will not accept applications for assistance with the cost of dyslexia assessment. Such applications should be made to the Access to Learning Fund via Tutors.  Applications must be made by Tutors on behalf of students and will need to be supported by adequate and appropriate medical evidence.
  • Supporting Mature Students.
  • Cambridge University Funding Schemes for new and existing students.  Cambridge University offers many funding opportunities internally and attracts significant resources from external sources. These pages are intended to help you begin your search for funding for your course.

You can find out more about the value and eligibility criteria for all financial support schemes maintained by the University at

College Welfare Funds

The College's Student Welfare Fund, administered by the Tutors, provides financial assistance for students whose financial situation has become difficult because of changes in their personal or family circumstances.  When the difficulty is purely temporary, the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager, Mr David Graves (), Tel. +44 1223 7 60972) will be able to offer advice as well as agreeing a rescheduling of your College Bill.  When the financial problem cannot be solved in this way, assistance will also be provided in helping you to prepare an application to the Student Welfare Fund.  The Welfare Fund can provide discretionary grants, typically ranging from re-imbursement of incidental expenses incurred through illness, to partial rent rebates, to larger grants of several hundred pounds.

In exploring possible options, it will be helpful to have the information in the form below at hand when you meet with the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager.  Please attempt to fill in this form with the best combination of actual figures (e.g. your student loan for the year, current bank balance etc.) and guesstimates (e.g. food expenditure): in some cases you may find it easier to think of a typical week, and then multiply the relevant amount by the 30 weeks of the standard residence period.  Once you have done so, please submit it to the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager, Mr David Graves (), Tel. +44 1223 7 60972) (cc. Senior Tutor, Mr Max Beber () and your Tutor) to discuss the matter further.

Student Welfare Fund form

Overseas and EU undergraduates 

The Cambridge Trusts offer scholarships and part-cost bursaries to overseas and EU students who have been accepted for admission at the University of Cambridge. Since there are many more applicants than there are awards available, candidates should apply for every other form of financial assistance open to them, including UK Government awards, Cambridge College awards and awards from sources in their home countries.

Travel, Music and Sports Awards

College Travel Awards

  • Travel awards are granted each year for the coming summer;
  • College takes into account financial circumstances of applicants, prior travel experience, prior College financial support received, their record of academic industry and progress, disciplinary record, and the interest of the proposed travel plan;
  • The deadline for applications is Easter Term;
  • Awards are approved by the College Council on the recoomendation of the Tutors;
  • Awards vary from £100 to several hundred pounds depending on which is the most appropriate Travel Award;
  • It is a condition of accepting a Travel Award that an illustrated report be provided by the end of the summer, and that the College be entitled to use such reports in any College publication, social media, or on the College website.

External Travel Awards

  • Gladstone Memorial Travel Awards have been able to assist a tremendous variety of enterprising projects for undergraduates in their first or second years.  They cannot be directly connected with a course of study and they are usually not grand enough to attract funding from the usual sources of grants (each award will be up to £600 each).  That is what makes the award valuable and popular.  Please visit their website for information and deadlines

Music Awards

Sidney is proud of its long-standing commitment to musical excellence, which it supports in its students through a variety of schemes.

  • Choral Scholarships of £100 per annum, normally tenable for three years, are offered each year, for all voices. The award includes free singing tuition. Holders of Choral awards form the nucleus of the Chapel Choir. Members of the Choir are expected to attend all rehearsals and services, participate in periodic concerts, recordings, tours, etc, and take an active part in the general musical life of the College.
  • Instrumental Awards of £100 per annum, renewable annuallyare offered every year for certain instruments. For details, see the current Cambridge Admissions Prospectus [PDF 629KB] .
  • Organ Scholarships of £450 per annum, normally tenable for three yearsare offered in two out of every three years and include free organ tuition. The Organ Scholar's responsibilities include playing for Sunday morning services and any other non-Choral services and assisting the Director of Music in the preparation of all choral services and practice. The Scholar is expected to take a leading part in the musical life of the College, to conduct and to arrange concerts in consultation with the Director of Music.
  • The Pritchard Kennedy Choral Composition Award was established by Mr Matt Pritchard (1996) and Mr John Kennedy (1996) in November 2006 to encourage University students to develop their creative skills through musical composition and thereby to build a body of music written specially for Sidney Sussex College and its choir.
  • Established in 2007, the Charles Larkum Fund for Music is the latest commitment by the College to support the development of its students’ musical talents, and the enjoyment of music by all College members.

The College also participates in the general awards scheme run centrally through the University.  The College has a junior and senior Organ Scholar, so that there are two student organists in residence in any given year.  Outside the Choral Scholarships competition, we also welcome applications from graduate students.  For further information, please contact the Osborn Director of Music, Dr David Skinner (), Tel. +44 1223 7 61563) or visit the websites for the University Choral Awards and University Organ Scholarships.

Sports Awards

The University of Cambridge maintains a long tradition of student participation in sport.  The earliest known established sports club was the Cambridge University Boat Club in 1828, and now, nearly 200 years later, the University has more than 50 sports clubs.

The College makes small financial awards to those students receiving Blues or Half Blues, as a result of representing the University in their chosen sport, while performing satisfactorily in their academic work, as assessed by the Chair of the Student Awards C’tee in consultation with the student’s Director of Studies or graduate supervisor.  Students who represent the University in a particular sport and who are awarded a Blue or Half-Blue are asked to inform the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager, Mr David Graves (), Tel. +44 1223 7 60972) of the award so that a correct record is kept.

Further information on Blues and Half Blues and related sporting activites and contacts can be found on the Cambridge University Sport website.