Funding covers both the fees charged by the University and Colleges and day-to-day living expenses. The University requires proof that you will be able to meet all of these costs before you can start your degree. Many graduate students have some or all of these costs paid by one of the many funding bodies while others are self-funded. In the UK there is no single system for administering awards for postgraduates, so what you are eligible for depends very much on who you are and what you are doing; for overseas students there is essentially a whole different range of possibilities.
This section is divided into several subsections:
All graduates have to pay study fees on top of the money they will need to support themselves. For those on Research Council grants, or most other scholarships, these are normally paid by the funding body. Cambridge (and Oxford) differ from most other Universities in having two types of fees: those you pay to your College and those to the University.
Whilst University fees are relatively uncontroversial, college fees have been criticised for at least 70 years, without noticeable effect. Most colleges publish details of their fee in the BoGS Prospectus; if they don’t, contact the college individually; it may imply that their fees are higher than average. The cheapest may not necessarily be the best: a college with a higher fee may provide cheaper accommodation or more financial assistance. In addition to the rental for college accommodation and charges for meals, you may also have to pay a “Kitchen Fixed Charge” (KFC) which is not normally payable by grant giving bodies. Funding bodies are increasingly unhappy about having to pay large amounts of money into the apparently bottomless pits of college expenditure, especially when colleges provide no teaching to graduates. Colleges claim to provide all sorts of information and tutorial help but in practice it appears that much of the money cross-subsidises both undergraduates and fellows. You (or your funding body) should expect to end up paying around £1700 per year to the college, in addition to whatever you spend on rent and meals, although you may be able to secure fee reductions, some study expenses, or delayed payment options from your college if you need help.