Students looking at where to go to university traditionally look for institutions that perform well in their chosen subject, have excellent amenities and, of course, a smashing social scene. Today though, more and more undergraduates look for university locations which can match not only those key requirements, but also increasingly tight purse strings.
For this reason, Consumers’ Association Which? has released its new student budget calculator in an aim to help students decide where best to study by breaking down exactly how much it will cost to live in regions across the UK per month. The calculator, which you can search by institution, provides a handy itemisation of associated living costs, taking everything into account from accommodation, to water and energy, internet, transport, food shopping, takeaways, snacks and clothing.
Crucially for students the calculator shows a £5,400 difference in estimated annual living costs between the most expensive region, London and the cheapest, Northern Ireland, at £14,500 and £8,800 respectively.
Alex Hayman, Which? Managing Director of Public Markets, commented: “The disparity in student living costs across the UK means students are not always able to prepare for the cost of living at university. With results day approaching, students can better understand the cost of living at their chosen university with Which? University’s student budget calculator.”
It is no surprise that London came out on top for the most expensive place to study, with students at the University of Westminster forking out £72 a month for food shopping, where those at the University of Bolton in the North West spent £6 less. Whilst that might seem like a small difference, it tots up to a £72 difference per year on food alone – a significant figure on a student loan budget.
Both Yorkshire and the North West regions appear to be good options for students, both coming in at under £10,000 for annual living costs, whilst also offering some of the best higher education services in the UK. Key universities such as the University of Sheffield, the University of Manchester and the University of Liverpool provide the best of both worlds, offering metropolitan city living with manageable costs and prestigious courses which are globally recognised for their excellence.
Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) offers students in these cities further security, with bills generally included in the price of accommodation. As well as this, PBSA is an increasingly attractive option for students looking for a supportive living environment where additional amenities like bike storage, private gymnasiums, social spaces and laundry rooms take much of the stress out of moving to university.
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