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Undergraduate Finance

Money Management

The University Tuition Fee and the College Fee are contributions towards the cost of providing the academic teaching of your chosen degree course, and the ancillary services which constitute the collegiate environment.

Tuition Fee

Cambridge charges the same level of Tuition Fee as most other British Universities.  The University website (Undergraduate Admissions>Fees and Finance>Tuition Fees) offers up to date information on the level of the University Tuition Fee.

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 slightly between Colleges, but is typically between £6,500 and £9,150 per year. Sidney’s undergraduate College Fee for 2018/19 is set at £7,500.

Living Expenses

During each term, the bulk of your current expenses will cover accommodation and meals: these charges, together with a few additional sundry items, are detailed in your College Bill.

An Affordable University

While the level of the Tuition and College Fees will typically increase slightly from year to year, and rent and other current expenses will also follow the general trend of prices, some principles are central to the philosophy of university admissions and remain constant over time:

  1. Cambridge is by no means a particularly expensive university:

  • the 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 if not for the whole calendar year, College accommodation is only charged for the period of residence (thirty weeks);
  • you will have no transport costs.  Most Colleges and University Departments are within the historic centre of Cambridge, easily reached on foot or by bicycle.
  1. As long as you are 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 re-payable after graduation, and even then, only while your income is above a certain threshold and periodically reviewed by the Department for Education.
  1. Moreover, there are several financial support mechanisms (Core Funding, Additional Financial Support) aiming to ensure that no UK student should be deterred from applying to the University of Cambridge because of financial considerations, and that no student should have to leave because of financial difficulties.  A number of Awards and Prizes are also available to reward excellence academic, artistic, and sporting excellence, and they can contribute significantly to making student budgeting more comfortable.



Freshers' Week Student Finance Workshop Presentation - Currently being updated for 2018/19

For many students, coming to College also involves their most significant experience to date of managing money and budgeting: the sums involved are relatively large (the total cost of a year’s undergraduate study is most likely to exceed £7000); and you need to consider the year, if not the overall duration of your course, as a whole, and budget accordingly.  Your first term is a good example of this, because of the timing of the billing of your current expenditures (example bill PDF).

Avoiding Financial Worries

Money worries should not be allowed to spoil your enjoyment of your studies and your College life.  Most financial difficulties can either be avoided altogether by sensible budgeting, or managed over time, or alleviated by financial support, which the College is able to provide through its Student  Welfare Fund.  Should you ever find yourself in financial trouble, remember that we are here to help: there is no reason to hide the problem, and it will be typically much easier and quicker to solve it if you discuss it with the College – your query should be addressed in the first instance to the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager, Mr David Graves (, Tel. +44 1223 7 60972)

Money Management

You are of course already familiar with the basics of bank accounts. You may not have had a credit card before, in which case one piece of advice is probably helpful: credit cards are one of the most expensive ways to borrow, and – unlike your student bank account overdraft – you will incur full charges for any amount outstanding on your credit card beyond the payment deadline. The same applies to store cards.  Last but not least, your plastic money will include your University Card: this serves effectively as an interest-free credit card within Sidney, with a settlement period equal to a full term: you can use it to buy meals in Hall, beverages from the Buttery, College merchandise from the Porters’ Lodge …  Whenever you make use of your University Card to make a purchase, you have the opportunity to check your balance; you can of course also do this in the Tutorial Office.


Income, twenty pounds; expenditure, nineteen pound nine shilling and sixpence: result, happiness. Income, twenty pounds; expenditure, twenty pounds, nought and sixpence: result, misery Mr Micawber Charles Dickens.

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.

A simple budgeting exercise will be part of your early round of College meetings during Freshers’ Week. Throughout the year, the Tutorial Student Finance Manager, is available to offer advice and help you review your financial situation; when serious difficulties arise, your Tutor will typically become involved in exploring possibilities of financial support through the College Student Welfare Fund and University provisions.

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 to enjoy those thrills un-distracted by money worries.  Budgeting cannot of course remove all financial emergencies (from major unexpected expenses, to changes in family circumstances and support…): even in these cases, however, a well-presented financial summary will greatly strengthen a claim for financial support from the College.

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.

Room Rent and Tuition Fee

Each Bill includes the residential (room) charge and the proportion of the Kitchen Fixed Charge (the set contribution towards kitchen overheads) for that Term. For 2018/19, the termly room-rents for first-year students will be in the range of £1,127-£1,324. The termly Kitchen Fixed Charge will be c. £175. 

Each bill will include the appropriate Tuition Fee instalment - or that portion of it for which they are liable if they are not taking the Tuition Fee Loan.  Overseas (non-EU) student bills will, in addition to the appropriate instalment of their Tuition Fee, also include the appropriate instalment of their College Fee.

Additional Charges

The Bill at the start of the Lent and Easter Term includes the bill for food consumed in the Buttery and Hall, and printing for the previous Term.  A typical College Bill will look like this [example bill].

First year students should take notice: because you are in fact purchasing those services on credit throughout your first term, the bill received in October will be rather smaller than later ones. You are not quite as rich as you think, and you should aim to have some money left over at the end of the first term, to cover those expenses, which will become due in January.  Whenever you make a purchase using your University Card at one of the three College tills (Hall, Buttery, and Porters’ Lodge) you will be able to check the balance owing, and this will give you an idea of how much you are spending, and will need to settle at the beginning of the following Term.  The Tutorial and Student Finance Manager is also able to provide you with this information if you prefer.  The end of year Bill, with these additional charges for the Easter Term, will be sent to your University email address early in the summer vacation. 

Final-year students will, in addition to their usual charges, be required to pay an estimated amount on their Easter Term Bill.  This prepayment will be used towards any variable expenditures incurred during their final term of study in order to clear any outstanding balance prior to graduation: any expenditure not covered by the prepayment is deducted from the deposit paid by each student in their first year, before any remaining credit balance is returned to them.  The deadlines for payment are printed on each Bill.

Paying your College Bill


Sidney Sussex College Website - Home>Sidnet>Students>Finance>Pay Your College Bill Online.

Direct Bank Transfer - Details avaliable from the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager, Mr David Graves (, Tel. +44 1223 7 60972).

Tutorial and Student Finance Manager

UK Debit Card

Cheque - payable to Sidney Sussex College

Additionally, Sidney, through the generosity of alumni and benefactors of the College, is able to provide a number of substantial income-related bursaries, fitting into the wider public and University framework described above.

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 award committee and assessments of household income made as appropriate via Student Finance England, Wales, Norther 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.The 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 buttressed by a number of additional financial mechanisms, which can provide additional income 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 Awards;
  • 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 Access Bursaries and Grants

Additionally, Sidney, through the generosity of alumni and benefactors of the College, is able to provide a number of substantial income-related bursaries, fitting into the wider public and University framework described above.

Our current undergraduate access bursaries, which are typically of £1000 p.a.

    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 (cc. Senior Tutor, Mr Max Beber ( and your Tutor) and ask to meet with him to discuss the situation.

    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

    Every year, the College grants several Travel Awards for the summer ahead which are advertised in February, with a deadline for applications at the beginning of the Easter Term, and awards approved by Council, on the recommendation of the Tutors.  Students are informed by email and the awards vary in amount from £100 to several hundred pounds and when applying, the College will decide which is the most appropriate Travel Award to suite individual circumstances.  In making these Awards, the College will take into account the 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.  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 its Annual.

    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, and who also perform satisfactorily in their academic work, i.e. a minimum of II.i in their Tripos examinations.  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.