Do You Have to Pay to Apply to University? UCAS Application Tips

Do You Have to Pay to Apply to University

Are you curious to know if you have to pay to apply to university? Well, it’s not only you! Many other prospective students share this concern.

In fact, a recent study by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found that 63% of students worry about the financial burden of the application process.

According to recent data from UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), the cost of applying to university can be a significant burden for students and their families.

In this article, we’ll explain if you have to pay to apply to any UK university and provide you with some valuable tips on how to navigate the UCAS application without breaking the bank.

Do You Have to Pay to Apply to University

Do I Have to Pay to Apply to University?

When it comes to applying to universities in the UK through UCAS, the application process itself doesn’t come for free. There is indeed an application fee you will have to pay to apply to university.

However, there are exceptions and waivers in place that can significantly reduce or eliminate this cost for certain applicants.

You may also want to read this article: When Do Year 11 Apply For College in the UK?

Do you want to know how much this application fee costs? Continue reading!

How Much Does It Cost to Apply to University via UCAS?

Wondering about the price tag for applying to university through UCAS? Let’s break it down without getting too fancy.

As of 2023, it’s not a wallet-buster. If you’re picking just one course, it’ll set you back £22.50. Feeling more adventurous? Want to try your luck with up to five courses? Well, then it’s £27.

Keep in mind, that these numbers might change, so keep an eye on UCAS for updates.

But here’s the kicker – fee waivers! They can be a game-changer. If you meet certain criteria, you can skip those fees altogether.

UCAS offers a helping hand to certain students, like those on specific visas or receiving certain benefits. If that sounds like you, don’t sweat it. You can apply for a fee waiver, and bam, no more worries about that application fee.

Let’s talk more about this in the subheading below.

See also: How Much Does a UCAS Application Fee Cost?

Are There Any Exemptions or Fee Waivers?

Curious if there’s a way to dodge those application fees to apply to university. You’re in luck! There are exemptions and fee waivers available to ease the financial burden.

If you meet specific criteria, you might be eligible for a fee waiver. UCAS offers this financial lifeline to students in certain situations, like those on specific visas or receiving particular benefits. If that sounds like you, applying for a fee waiver is your ticket to a fee-free application.

University of Oxford for instance offers application waivers to students under certain circumstances such as:

  • From a low-income country. (Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia (The), Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Korea (DPR), Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Uganda and Yemen)
  • Students in the UK hailing from a low-income group.
  • If you are applying for re-admission.
  • If you are applying to related research courses.

So, how do you go about snagging one of these waivers? Well, it’s straightforward. The UCAS website has all the info you need. Just gather the right documents to prove your eligibility, and you’re good to go.

How Can I Apply for a Fee Waiver?

Wondering how to get your hands on a fee waiver? It’s simpler than you might think! If you’re eligible for one, UCAS has made the process straightforward.

First, visit the UCAS website, where you’ll find all the details you need. They’ve got a dedicated section that walks you through the process step by step.

To apply, you’ll need to gather some essential documents. These documents typically include proof of your eligibility. It could be things like visa information or evidence of benefits you’re receiving. Make sure to double-check the specific requirements on the UCAS website, as they may vary.

Once you’ve gathered everything you need, follow the instructions on the website to submit your application for the fee waiver. It’s all done online, so no need to worry about mailing anything in.

Remember, timely action is crucial. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for the fee waiver. Give yourself enough time to gather the necessary documents and complete the process before your university application deadline.

In essence, applying for a fee waiver is a user-friendly process. UCAS provides clear guidance on its website, and as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you can make your university application more affordable with ease.

See also: How Many Universities Can You Apply To Via UCAS?

Top of Form

Can I Apply for a Student Loan to Cover UCAS Application Fees?

Wondering if you can use a student loan to cover UCAS application fees? Let’s dive in.

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Student loans are typically intended to cover your tuition fees and living expenses while you’re in university. They aren’t designed to handle the upfront cost of applying to university through UCAS.

But don’t let that discourage you! While student loans won’t directly cover the application fees, they can help ease the overall financial burden of your education. Once you’re enrolled in university, your student loan can support your academic journey by covering tuition and providing funds for living expenses.

To tackle those UCAS application fees, you’ll want to explore fee waivers and other financial assistance options. We’ve said earlier that UCAS offers fee waivers for eligible applicants, making it possible to apply to universities without the upfront cost.

See also: Does A Student Loan Count As Income In The UK?

What Happens if I Don’t Pay the UCAS Application Fee?

Curious about the consequences of skipping the UCAS application fee? Let’s keep it straightforward.

If you decide not to pay the UCAS application fee, your application might hit a roadblock. In other words, it may not get processed. Paying the fee is a crucial step in the application process.

Here’s the deal – universities rely on these fees to cover the administrative costs of processing applications. When you don’t pay, it can create delays and complications for both you and the universities you’re applying to.

But here’s the silver lining: if you’re eligible for a fee waiver and you apply for it in time, you can avoid this situation altogether. Fee waivers are designed to make the application process accessible to all, regardless of financial circumstances.

So, the key takeaway is to ensure you address the application fee promptly. If you’re concerned about the cost, look into fee waivers and explore all available options to make the process as smooth as possible. Don’t let the fee be a stumbling block on your path to university!

Are There Any Additional Costs Associated with the UCAS Application?

Beyond the initial application fee, there are a few other potential expenses to consider. These can vary depending on your circumstances and the courses you’re applying for. Here’s a rundown:

  • Transcript and Document Fees: You might need to pay for sending your transcripts or other necessary documents to the universities. This cost can vary depending on the number of documents and how they need to be sent.
  • Interview and Assessment Costs: Some universities may require you to attend interviews or assessment days as part of the application process. While not all universities charge for these, it’s a good idea to budget for any associated costs if they arise.
  • Travel and Accommodation: If you have to attend interviews or assessments in person, you’ll need to budget for travel and accommodation expenses. Be sure to plan ahead and look for cost-effective options.
  • English Language Proficiency Tests: If English isn’t your first language and your chosen course requires it, you might need to take an English language proficiency test like IELTS or TOEFL. These tests come with their own fees.

To keep costs under control, it’s a smart move to research each university’s requirements and policies thoroughly. Look for ways to minimize expenses, such as choosing courses that don’t require additional assessments or exploring digital interview options to save on travel.

In essence, while the UCAS application fee is the primary cost, it’s essential to be aware of potential additional expenses to ensure you’re financially prepared for your university application journey.

See also: Do University Students Pay for Prescriptions? 2023 Tips

How Can I Save Money During the UCAS Application Process?

Want to keep those pennies in your pocket during the UCAS application process? Here’s the lowdown on how to save some cash:

  • Plan Your Choices Wisely: UCAS charges per choice, so think carefully about how many courses you genuinely want to apply for. Be strategic and choose those that genuinely align with your goals.
  • Check for Discounts: Keep an eye out for any promotions or discounts on UCAS application fees. Sometimes, universities offer reduced fees or even waive them during specific periods.
  • Utilize UCAS Resources: UCAS provides a treasure trove of free resources to help you prepare your application. From guidance on personal statements to interview tips, take full advantage of what’s available.
  • Apply for Fee Waivers: If you’re eligible for a fee waiver, don’t hesitate to apply. It’s a straightforward process and can save you a significant amount.
  • Budget for Supporting Documents: Remember, sending transcripts and documents can add up. Plan for these expenses in advance and explore cost-effective sending options.
  • Digital Interviews: If possible, opt for digital interviews to save on travel and accommodation expenses. Many universities now offer this as an alternative to in-person interviews.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on any changes in fees and application processes. UCAS’s website is a valuable resource for staying in the know.

By making savvy choices and taking advantage of available resources, you can cut down on costs and make the UCAS application process more budget-friendly. Remember, every pound saved brings you closer to your university dreams!

See also: How Much Does It Cost To Go To University In The UK | 2023 Expert Tips?

What Support is Available for Students with Financial Concerns?

Worried about your finances while navigating the university application process? You’re not alone, and there’s help available. Let’s dive into the support options for students with financial concerns:

  • University Financial Aid Offices: Most universities have dedicated financial aid offices. They can guide you through the various financial support options available, including scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • Scholarships and Grants: Explore scholarships and grants specifically designed for students facing financial challenges. These can come from universities, external organizations, or government programs.
  • Bursaries: Some universities offer bursaries, which are typically based on financial need. These can help cover various expenses, including application fees and living costs.
  • Student Support Services: Universities provide student support services that can assist you in managing your finances. They can offer advice on budgeting, managing debt, and accessing emergency funds if needed.
  • Part-Time Work: Consider part-time work while studying. Many universities have on-campus job opportunities that can help you cover expenses.
  • Flexible Payment Plans: Some universities offer flexible payment plans, allowing you to spread the cost of tuition and other fees over the academic year.
  • Government Assistance: Depending on your country of residence, there may be government programs or loans available to assist with educational costs.

Remember, it’s essential to reach out to your university’s financial aid office for personalized guidance. They can help you navigate the available options and create a financial plan that suits your needs. Financial concerns shouldn’t stand in the way of your education, and there are resources and support systems in place to help you succeed.

Can I Apply for Scholarships to Cover Application Fees?

While scholarships are often associated with tuition and living expenses, some scholarships might offer assistance for application fees. These scholarships can be university-specific or come from external organizations.

Here’s the deal:

  • University Scholarships: Some universities offer scholarships that cover application fees or provide financial aid to applicants. These scholarships are typically merit-based, so having a strong academic record or outstanding achievements can make you eligible.
  • External Scholarships: Certain external scholarship programs may include coverage for application fees as part of their financial support package. These can vary widely in eligibility criteria, so be sure to research and apply for those that match your profile.
  • Check with Admissions: Reach out to the admissions offices of the universities you’re interested in to inquire about any scholarships or fee waivers they offer. They can provide you with specific details and requirements.
  • Apply Early: Some scholarships have early application deadlines, so be proactive and apply well in advance of your UCAS application.

Remember, scholarship availability and criteria can change, so stay updated by checking university websites and scholarship databases. While scholarships that cover application fees may be limited, every bit of financial assistance helps, so explore all potential avenues to make your university dreams more affordable.

See also: Where Does Scholarship Money Come From? Everything You Need to Know


Do I need to pay a fee to apply to a university through UCAS?

Yes, there is an application fee associated with UCAS, but fee waivers are available for eligible applicants.

How much does it cost to apply through UCAS?

The cost for 2023 entry is £22.50 for a single choice and £27 for multiple choices (up to five courses).

Can I apply for a fee waiver after submitting my UCAS application?

It’s advisable to apply for a fee waiver before submitting your UCAS application to ensure a smoother process.


While there is a cost you have to pay to apply to university through UCAS, there are ways to minimize and even eliminate this expense.

By researching fee waivers, budgeting carefully, and seeking financial support when needed, you can embark on your university journey with confidence, knowing that you’ve made informed choices to manage your expenses effectively.



You May Also Like