Most expensive places to be a student

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:

A recent study has revealed the UK cities that are the most expensive locations for students to live in. Based on the analysis conducted by international education provider Oxford Royale, London has been found to have the highest average living costs for students each week.

There were various factors that were reviewed to determine the average cost for students in each city. The survey featured cities that appeared on the Complete University Guide’s (CUG) top 40 universities. Various expenses in each city were then analysed, including the average weekly cost of beer and cocktails, fast food and taxi fares. The survey also reviewed the average weekly cost to rent a shared flat with a shared bathroom.

It was discovered that the average weekly expenditure for students studying at a university in the capital city is £302. This includes the average £17.16 that students spend each week on beer, as well as the £36 average weekly cost of cocktails. A shared flat in the city will also cost students an average of £211 each week.

There are multiple universities that are based in London such as the Imperial College, Kings College and the Royal Holloway University of London. Students studying at the various universities in London can expect to pay an average of £11.88 on fast food each week. This is the same average price that students studying in Newcastle and Liverpool pay. However, these two cities were named in the top five cheapest places to study overall in the same survey.

London’s black taxi cabs are an iconic fixture in the city, but an average fare will set students back £26. This means that students in London are paying £16 more for taxis than students in Dundee, which is the cheapest city to study in the UK.

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Where are the most expensive cities to attend university in the UK?

The second most expensive city to study in the UK is Brighton, where students can pay £271 on a weekly average. University of Sussex students pay a weekly average of £200 in accommodation costs for a shared flat. The rent works out as nearly £40 more than the average rent for students in Oxford, which costs £161 per week.

Oxford, which is home to the world-famous university, is in third place as the most expensive city to study in. Both UK and international students can expect to pay an average of £234 on weekly expenses in the city. Beer costs students a weekly average of £13.47 in Oxford, whilst weekly cocktails are £24 on average. Additional student expenses include £24 for the average taxi fare, which is the second-highest amount in the survey. Fast food in Oxford can also see students paying out £11.62 each week.

Cambridge, Oxford’s historic rival and one of the top universities in the world, falls in seventh place on the rankings list. Cambridge students pay an average of £216 each week, which includes weekly rent of £149 on average.

The only Scottish city to make the top ten list is Edinburgh. With an average expenses total of £229, students at the University of Edinburgh pay the fourth-highest amount on weekly expenses of any student city in the UK. Rent in the Scottish city costs an average of £159 each week for a shared flat. Students also have to pay £17 on average for a taxi fare, as well as £15.30 on beer and £27 on cocktails if they want to drink alcohol every week.

On average, students in Reading pay £6 less than those in Edinburgh. This is despite the fact that the average weekly rent for students is £2 more expensive at £161. Taxis in the city come to an average fee of £15 for a five-mile ride, whilst students pay an average of £11.72 on fast food each week.

Nottingham students pay an average of £207 each week, which includes an average of £145 in weekly rent. According to the survey, students pay £16 on average for a taxi within the city, as well as £10.04 for fast food each week. Fast food within the city had one of the lowest totals out of all of the university cities featured in the survey.

In joint tenth place are Exeter and Manchester, with a weekly expenses total of £203 on average. Rent is a weekly average of £139 in Manchester, whereas Exeter students have to pay slightly more at £142. Students studying at the University of Exeter also have to pay more for a taxi fare as the average is £16, compared to Manchester’s average of £13 for a five-mile trip.

The price of cocktails in Manchester evens out the overall cost for students in the two cities. Students pay an average of £27 in Manchester on a weekly basis, whilst Exeter students pay an average of £21. There is only £1 difference in the average cost of fast food in the two cities. Students studying at the University of Manchester pay an average of £11.80 each week, whilst Exeter students pay an average of £10.80.

Below is a table showing the ten most expensive university cities in the UK, along with the weekly average that students spend.

University city Average weekly expenditure
London £302
Brighton £271
Oxford £234
Edinburgh £229
Reading £223
Bristol £219
Cambridge £216
Nottingham £207
Exeter £203
Manchester £203

Which cities are the cheapest for students?

The annual student loan that the government distribute helps eligible university students to pay the living costs of rent, food and travel. However, some students may decide to attend university in a more affordable city to ease the financial burden.

The same research found that Dundee is the most affordable city for UK students to study at. Students at the University of Dundee spend a weekly average of £157, which is £143 cheaper than students at one of the London universities. The average rent for a shared flat costs students £161 each week in Dundee.

Newcastle is the second cheapest city for students to study in. Weekly expenditures for students at Newcastle University and Northumbria University comes to a total of £161. This includes weekly rent of £101 on average, as well as £11 for the average taxi fare.

Aberdeen is also in second place in terms of the cheapest cities in the UK to study in. On average, students pay £161 each week, although weekly rent is an average of £1 in the Scottish city compared to the rent in Newcastle. The biggest price difference between Aberdeen and Newcastle is the price students have to pay for a taxi. On average, a five-mile taxi fare in Aberdeen costs £15, whereas Newcastle students only have to pay an average of £11.

William Humphreys, CEO & Founder, Oxford Royale Academy (ORA) commented on the findings: “There is no doubt that students are always looking to save money living on a budget so it’s great to see that there are many areas in the UK where people at university can have a good time without breaking the bank. With rising student costs nationwide, it’s more important than ever for students to know how to manage their money and this list can offer some guidance and insight into where their loan will stretch further”.

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