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Student finances

Find out more about managing your costs at St Catharine's, and how we are able to help.

At St Catharine's, we believe it is extremely important that no one is deterred from coming to study with us because they worry they cannot afford it. This page is to give you an idea of how much it will cost to be a student here, and the many ways that St Catharine's and the University can help - please read it carefully.

There is a perception that it will be expensive to study at university and even more expensive to be at Cambridge. In fact, while the university fee charge will be identical for most universities, living expenses and room rents are generally lower here in Cambridge than elsewhere.

Step 1: What will your fee status be?

Colleges collect fees on behalf of the University, and in the first instance it is the colleges which determine applicants' fee status. If you have any queries about your possible fee status, please first of all, look at this page and click the 'Higher Education link. Then if you have any further queries, please contact the College Admissions Office.

Please note: following the UK's exit from the EU, it has been confirmed that most EU students who start a course at Cambridge from 2021 onwards will no longer have access to the reduced fees and same forms of funding as were previously available. We will update all our webpages as soon as possible. Please click this link for further updates.

Further guidance is available but, in short, if you are a UK or EU national holding an offer for 2020 and have been resident in the UK or EU for the last three years up until the 1 September before the course starts, your fee status will usually be classed as 'home/EU'. Please note that in this context, 'resident' means living in the UK/EU with your family, not just attending a school in the UK or EU.

For entry in 2021 and later years we expect the system for UK system to remain similar. For EU students after 2020, St Catharine's will be following the University's policies regarding fees and funding. For more information, click here.

Otherwise you are likely to be 'overseas' fee status, but please note that there are a number of exceptions to this rule which may qualify you to be Home/EU instead - you will normally need to provide further information so we can make a decision.

Your previous highest qualification at the time when you start a Cambridge course is also important. In general, if you already have a first degree or equivalent qualification, you normally are not eligible for government-sponsored funding and will be subject to a different fee system (unless you are studying the later years of the courses in Architecture [to which St Catharine's does not admit students], Medicine or Veterinary Medicine).

Step 2: How much will studying at St Catharine's cost?

a. Tuition fees

At the time of writing, most Home/EU students take out a government loan to pay for their tuition fees. Non-EU students pay their own tuition fees, which vary according to the subject they are reading, as well as a college fee to cover teaching and various facilities provided by their college. 

Details of these fees are available on this page.

Also, click here for an independent external site about the costs of being a student.

b. Living costs

Accommodation provided by the College is only charged for the 'period of residence' - three ten week blocks containing the short Cambridge eight-week university teaching terms. Our room rents are very competitive, and the compact geography of the Colleges and University Departments means there is no need to incur any transport expenses (except, for many students, the maintenance of a bicycle!). 

Accommodation charges for first years in the academic year 2019/20 were set at  £3,378 - £5,157 (dependent on size, location and shared/ensuite facilities) divided into three ten-week terms. This charge includes rent, heating, lighting, water, internet use of the College's kitchen and self-catering facilities. These charges are reviewed regularly, and this usually results in small annual increases.

In addition, it will be necessary to cover costs of clothes, books, travel, entertainment etc. Do bear in mind that St Catharine's works hard to ensure that the College Library is well stocked with the books needed by undergraduate students - and this can save our students a great deal of expenditure. You should probably delay most book purchases until you have seen what the Library holds, and ask for advice about which books are useful from your Director of Studies, supervisors, and the second years taking your course.

For an estimate of what it costs to be a student at Cambridge, see the University website's section on student finance. Please note that, in accordance with University regulations, the College will not allow students to seek paid employment during term.

Step 3: How St Catharine's can help

The College offers a wide range of financial assistance to its students, in addition to the support available to them from the University and the Government. We offer this support partly from the College's own funds, but also from the generous donations of our benefactors, many of whom have provided us with funds specifically intended for this purpose. Below is a summary of financial assistance we offer to students who need it.

Full details of financial help available to undergraduates are available on this page.

  1. College bursaries: St Catharine's offers a variety of bursaries - including UK/EU entrance bursaries for all students from families with incomes below a certain level.
  2. College hardship funds: The College has funds to support students in short- or long-term financial hardship by the use of hardship loans or grants.
  3. Course costs: There are also funds available to help students with specific costs of their courses, including awards to support clinical medical and veterinary students with their elective placements.
  4. Travel grants: The College annual awards a large number of travel grants to its students, and those whose travel is related to their course usually receive more help
  5. Language courses: The University offers excellent language courses through its Language Programme; costs are subsidised for students, but can be covered further by awards from the College.
  6. Sports or music costs: The purchase of equipment or training and tuition costs can be partially or completely covered by sports bursaries from the College. More information on music awards can be found here.
  7. Internships: Students in receipt of Cambridge Bursaries carrying out unpaid internships during the vacations can apply for grants to support this work. Those not in receipt of such bursaries can apply to the travel grant fund for this purpose.
  8. Prizes and scholarships: These are awarded annually for academic excellence and achievement in other fields

Step 4: Other important sources of help 

Most UK students, and many overseas students, also have access to a variety of other sources of funding in addition to those listed above. For more details see the University website - note especially the Cambridge Bursary and the Tuition Fee Loan.

If you are holding an offer for a course which could involve either 3 or 4 years in Cambridge - for example, many strands of Natural Sciences have popular fourth year options - then you should apply for 4 years' funding at the start. It is easier to switch funding from 4 to 3, than to apply for a year's extension from 3 to 4.

Also, each year a small number of international students (often 20 across the University, receiving approximately £10,000 each per year) are funded by a bursary from the Cambridge Trust. International candidates holding offers (conditional or firm) will be sent information about how to apply, early in the calendar year in which they are due to start their course at Cambridge. For more information, see this link.

The University also has the Rowan Williams Studentship to support applicants from areas of instability or zone of conflict. Unusually, this studentship can provide full fees and costs, including administrative costs such as travel, visa costs and the immigration health surcharge. For full details, see this link.

As always, if you would like to ask specific questions but cannot find the information you need, get in touch with us using the details at the bottom of this page.

Step 5: Financial help with attending interviews

To enable applicants to come to interview in Cambridge, St Catharine's is pleased to provide support for travel costs to students who are in local authority care and/or are currently in receipt of free school meals and who attend a UK maintained sector school/college. Public transport travel costs will be reimbursed, and we will contact eligible applicants directly with further information when they are invited to interview.


If after reading this website you still have questions about applying to St Catharine's for an undergraduate degree, please email us at

Contact details

Undergraduate Admissions
01223 338319
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