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Rents in London are expensive compared to other parts of the country. Below is an indication of the average cost of a room (exclusive of bills) in the following types of accommodation. Rooms in central London can be more expensive.


  • Hostel: £15–30 per night.
  • Hall of Residence: £145–400 per week (bills included).
  • Hotel: At least £60 per night (more at peak times).
  • AirBnB: From £40 per night (book early to get the best price and availability). 


  • Room in a shared house: £400–1,000 per month (dependent on location). 
  • Studio flat: From £190 per week or more.  
  • 1-bedroom flat  £250 per week or more.
  • 2-bedroom flat: £300 per week or more.

These figures are a rough guide. Prices will vary depending on location and quality. 

Quick tip:

The further out of central London you live, the cheaper it is likely to become. 


London is divided into 6 zones. The Royal College of Art is in Zone 1, in the centre of London. 

To view the underground map showing the different zones and for information regarding all methods of transport in London check the Transport for London (TFL) website.

7 day weekly travelcard fares with student discount (i.e. combined tube/bus ticket):

  • Zone 1–2: £142 pcm / £1480 per year
  • Zones 1–3: £167.10 pcm / £1740 per year
  • Zones 1–4: £204.30 pcm / £2128 per year
  • Zones 1–5: £243.10 pcm / £2532 per year
  • Zone 1–6: £260 pcm / £2708 per year

Fares updated in March 2022

(These fares are based on the Student Oyster card, including 30% student discount). 

If you have a 16–25 Railcard, you can add the discount to your 18+ Student Oyster photocard to get a 34% discount on off-peak pay as you go fares and off-peak daily caps on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London. 

Visit the Student Oyster photocard section on the TFL website for more details of how to apply and the Student Union Office at the Royal College of Art if you need more assistance.

It is possible to reduce travel costs. A 7-day bus & tram pass for students costs £14.80. Many of our students cycle to College and there is the Santander Cycle scheme you may wish to use. 

Living costs

Please see below a table of estimated costs for the average student during one academic year. Please note, your costs will differ depending on your situation and budget. 

Per year (52 weeks)/Per week

Rent: £10,920/£210 (average)

Food: £2,600/£50

Household goods: £500/£10

Household bills: £600/£12 (energy costs are not included in costs please see below)

Insurance: £86.32/£1.66

Personal items* :  £1,500/£28.85

Leisure items** : £1,300/ £25

Course materials: £2,800/£52

* Personal items include clothing, mobile phone bills, medical expenses, toiletries and other small personal items.

** Leisure items include hobbies, sport, entertainment subscriptions, social and cultural activities.

*** Travel can vary according to where your accommodation is located. 

Energy prices rise in April 2022

As part of the current household bills, it is important to take into consideration that the energy price cap will increase from 1 April 2022 for approximately 22 million customers including students.

Those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year (difference due to rounding). 

Prepayment meter tariffs are also covered by the price cap, and these are set to rise £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.

For clarity, this doesn't mean that is what everyone will pay. It's the rates that are capped, so if you use more, you'll pay more.

Further information is available on the following link


Council tax

Council tax is a tax levied by local authorities to help pay for local services, such as rubbish collection and policing.

Full-time students are exempt from paying Council Tax. If you live in a household where every adult is a full-time student then you will receive a bill but will not have to pay Council Tax once you have submitted proof of your student status. 

To get this proof you should request a Council Tax letter from the Registry. 

For Council Tax purposes you are treated as being a student from the time that you start your course, to the time when you complete, abandon or are excluded from it. This means that you do not have to pay Council Tax during the summer holiday period between your first and second year, but will be liable from the day that you complete your course.

The situation is slightly more complicated when you are a full-time student sharing with a non-student/non-students. If you live in a household with one non-student, then there will be a 25 per cent discount on the Council Tax upon submission of proof of student status. If there is more than one non-student then the full amount will be owed, but any students in the household will not be legally liable to pay.

The Student Support team can advise on Council Tax.


If you have a TV, you need a licence for it. One licence will cover all the sets in a single household if you have proof of a joint tenancy. 

The current fee for a colour TV licence is £147. Payment can either be made in full or you can spread the cost. 


The owner must insure the building you are renting, but this does not cover the contents. We strongly recommend you take out insurance for your belongings, especially computers and bicycles.

Endsleigh Insurance is a company that has one of its specialisms in the student market. So you may wish to seek a quote from them. 


If you need to store your belongings in between terms, or over the summer, you may wish to look at storage options.

LOVESPACE is a by-the-box storage company, and can cost just a few pounds per box per month, so you may wish to see what they can offer you. 

Contact us

Get in touch if you'd like to find out more about studying at the RCA.

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