The NatWest Student Living Index looks at which university cities and towns are the most cost-effective in the UK. These types of studies are extremely useful in helping you determine where you want to study. You can’t always base your decision on course content alone, and so need to know more about the particular city and life in the UK in general. NatWest’s head of student accounts, Dave Jones, agrees, stating “Making the most of university can be expensive and there is a massive difference in the costs students face depending on where they choose to study” (source). The Student Living Index looks at a range of factors, such as average income for students, average time spent by students socialising, studying, or working part-time, average rent costs and living expenses, and stress factors for students.
The index found that the most cost-effective university city was Portsmouth, with Liverpool and Newcastle following on closely behind. Edinburgh was found to be the least cost-effective city, in part due to its above average rent prices. But students are also amongst the most sociable, spending the most amount each week on going out, so don’t discount Scotland’s capital just yet! Unsurprisingly, it was Oxford and Cambridge who topped the list when it came to the average amount of time students spent on academic study, whilst those from Belfast and Manchester work the most part-time hours.
The top three cities in terms of rent costs were Oxford, Cambridge, and Brighton, with all three coming in at least £10 more expensive than the national average per week. Unexpectedly, London fell below the average weekly rate for rent prices, while Cardiff, Manchester, and Belfast were the three cheapest cities.
Despite these figures, subject choice was the number one consideration for students when deciding on their university of choice, with 46% of students naming it as their main motivation for choosing their university. Just 3% listed cost of living as a motivational factor their university choice. Perhaps this is why over half the students surveyed said that they found managing their finances stressful? Avoid the stress and make sure you are fully informed when choosing the right university for you. You can view the NatWest Student Living Index report in full here.
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Find out more about all the universities listed here, and others in the UK, on our University guide page.