Funding for International Students

This information is for both undergraduate and postgraduate international students, unless stated otherwise. An international student holds a passport from a country not in the EU or UK.

Both the University of Reading and the British Government will ask for evidence that international students are able to pay for their fees and living expenses while they are in the UK.

If there is doubt that you cannot support yourself financially you may be refused a visa.

RUSU cannot provide funding to students. Our advisers offer advice and guidance on the different options available to international students regarding funding their course and living expenses.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) serves the interest of International Students and provides information and support to them.



Payment of Tuition fees and/or living expenses can be met by an external body or person. This may be available from:

  • Home Government;
  • Employer(s);
  • A friend or family member(s).

Sponsors can pay the University directly or pay the student. Students can pay their fees using Reaing University Webpay

If there is a problem with sponsorship money then students can seek guidance from our advisers.



Scholarships and Grants are commonly awarded by charities or education establishments. Students will need to meet specific requirements as requested; for example, having to studying a specific subject, the country you are from or prior levels of education.

These awards can be for specific costs e.g. books, trips or childcare.

The following websites offer free information on scholarships and grants:

University of Reading The University of Reading offers some financial support to students e.g. Bursaries
British Council The British Council website specifically deals with sources of funding for international students.
International Student Information on sources of funding and living in the UK
IEFA International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search – you will need to register to get details
Turn2Us Grant database and benefits calculator
Charity Choice Charity Choice provides a list of charities supporting higher education

Postgraduates (Taught and Research)

Postgraduates looking for funding can speak to their department as they might have access to funding specific to the course or subject.

Information and funding opportunities can also be found on the following websites:

There is also an ‘Alternative Guide’. The Alternative Guide is an online guide to other funding sources. It offers a comprehensive guide to funding streams and a range of tools to help you prepare grant applications.

To access the Alternative Guide you log in via the Gateway through your Reading University account. If you are not currently a student at the University of Reading please contact for login details.


Future Finance

Future Finance is an loan company which exclusively deals with students. Students can borrow between £2000 and £40,000.

They calculate the interest rate depending on your circumstances, their typical rate is 14.7%.

They have reduced repayments whilst you are studying and 3 months after you graduate. Repayment is over 5 years.

Non UK/EU students will need a UK based Guarantor.


UK Loans

There are student loans available to undergraduates and postgraduates from the UK Government. These are typically available to UK/EU students but if you are a refugee, under humaninitarian protection or are stateless person you might be eligible.

Please speak to an adviser if you think you might be eligible for a student loan or see our information pages.



Welfare Benefits

Welfare Benefits are not generally available to international students because of the terms of the Tier 4 Student Visa which gives ‘no recourse to public funds’. Whilst there is a specific definition as to what counts as ‘public funds’ (further information can be found on the UKCISA website), in general, this means you cannot receive money directly from the Government.

However if you are a refugee or have settled status then you may be eligible to claim welfare benefits, as long as you meet other relevant criteria. For example, if you have a long term disability or illness you might be eligible to claim ‘Personal Independence Payment’ or if you have a child claim ‘Child Benefit’. Please speak to an adviser if you think you might be eligible to claim a welfare benefit.


Part-time Work

Most International students are permitted to work in the UK, but it is very important that you are clear about what work you may and may not do. It is important to always comply with any work restrictions or conditions.

Work conditions, including maximum hours are usually printed on your visa sticker or BRP. Maximum hours of working may differ in and out of term time.

International students can do most types of work but cannot be self-employed, work as a professional sportsperson, be an entertainer or be a doctor or dentist in training. You cannot have a permanent full-time job whilst studying.

When considering employment students are encouraged to speak to their department to find out if you will have time to work in addition to their studies.

To work in the UK everyone needs a National Insurance Number which is free and easy to obtain. Please see our information pages for how to apply.

International students are required to pay Income Tax and National Insurance contributions however you may be able to claim this back when you leave the UK. See the Tax Guide for Students for more information.

The UK has a National Living Wage and minimum wage policy which applies to all employees.

Aged 18 - 20 Aged 21 - 24 Aged 25 +
£6.45 per hour £8.20 per hour £8.72 per hour

If you think that you are not being paid the National Living Wage Wage per hour then please speak to an Adviser or visit ACAS for more information.

The University Job Shop can help with students obtaining part-time employment. They are based in the Carrington Building on Whiteknights Campus.


Financial Hardship while studying

International students can find themselves struggling financially, which can affect their academic performance. Common issues include:

  • Problems with your sponsor or economy in your home country;
  • Your course taking longer than expected and therefore higher living expense or additional tuition fees.

Below is a list of organisations or funds which might support students in unexpected financial hardship.

Fund Description
The University of Reading Student Support Fund For all students at the University of Reading. Helps with living expenses but not tuition fees
Henley Business School Hardship Fund For all Henley Business School students
Reading Real Estate Foundation Hardship Grant Student studying at the Real Estate School
The Leche Trust Supports overseas students from developing countries who find themselves in unforeseeable financial difficulty in the final 6 months of their PhD - grant towards living costs
CISN (Churches International Student Network) Assists full time international students in the final stages of their course - administered 3 times year (February, June and October)

Please speak to an Adviser if would like support to access any of these funds.

If you would like further advice or to speak with somebody in person then a Students’ Union Adviser may be able to help. The specialist advisers offer a confidential service, independent from the University so they can discuss your case with you in private.

Contact the Advice Service

Services which operate within the Advice Service have separate sessions: see their individual pages for further info on how and when to access them.

Following the current situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19), RUSU staff have been asked to work for remotely for the foreseeable future. This includes the staff within the Advice Service.

As a result, the Advice Service is unable to offer face-to-face appointment or a drop-in service at the current time, but we are still able to offer advice to students.

If you would like some support from the Advice Service then please complete our Talk to us form. Alternatively, you can email the service on

Please be assured that an Adviser will get in touch with you as soon as possible, and that we can still offer appointments via other methods (for example, via telephone, Skype or Microsoft Teams).