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 £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.
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.
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 the College.

Your query should be addressed in the first instance to the Tutorial and Student Finance Manager.

Budgets

Mr Micawber's recipe for happiness 

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery." Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

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.

Find out more about finance and funding at Sidney Sussex below. Information relating to postgraduate accommodation and catering charges can be found in the Postgraduate handbook.

Accommodation

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

Weekly rents are inclusive of all costs directly attributable to the room (ie heating, water, internet access, maintenance, insurance, and cleaning).

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, 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 will stay in College for a fixed 10 week period during each term. 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.

For 2020/21, the termly room-rents for first-year undergraduate students will be £1,246-£1,461. Rooms are banded A (£1,461) – E (£1,246) depending on size and facilities. For 2021/22, the room-rents for first-year undergraduates students will increase by no more than 5% plus inflation. Please be assured that rents for all continuing students will only increase in line with inflation.

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

Bursaries

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 2020/21, the termly catering charge for undergraduates will be £185. The pre-paid element to this charge (as noted on our Eating here page) will see each student receiving £20 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 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 studentfinance@sid.cam.ac.uk.
  • By UK Cheque - Payable to ‘Sidney Sussex College’
  • 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.
  • 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 Tutorial and Student Finance Manager.

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, and the latest College Fee for all Cambridge Colleges, including Sidney, can be found 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 transport 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 (one of the cheapest in Cambridge!) and the Sidney gym is good value.

There are plenty of free museums in Cambridge to enjoy.

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.

Transport

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

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

International and Islands students (ie this includes 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, and can discover more about the international fees and costs on the University website.

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

*EU students starting their studies in 2020 will be at the applicable Home rate (which for undergraduate students may be up to the maximum level allowed under UK law for each year) and they'll not be subject to the overseas fee rate at any point during the course of their study and will not pay the additional College fee. Please note that all fees may be subject to increases, which may be annual.

The fee status of EU nationals for 2021 entry onwards has yet to be determined by the UK government. EU students should regularly check for updates at: www.cam.ac.uk/eu.

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 use it to buy meals in Hall, beverages from the Buttery, Formal Hall tickets, photocopier cards, College merchandise from the Porters’ Lodge, and more!

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