University of Leicester has cheapest cost of living for students. Oxford, UCL and Sussex among the most expensive

14th August 2014

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The University of Leicester is the most affordable destination in Britain for both first and second-year students, according to research from HSBC.

First-year students can expect to spend £196 on average per week, which includes rent in halls, weekly essentials (food, activities and university supplies)*, a weekly bus pass and beer and wine.

The research examines the cost of living at universities in the twenty towns and cities in Britain with the largest student populations.

Unsurprisingly, London is the most expensive destination for students in Britain, but it isn’t just towns and cities in the south that are the least affordable.

Studying at the universities of Warwick, Manchester and Birmingham are among the most expensive, with the average cost of living £255, £262 and £289 per week respectively.

The universities of Southampton and Bristol are among the cheapest, with Southampton in particular benefitting from low accommodation and transport costs; a weekly bus pass costs just £6.67.

Table 1: Cost of living for first-year students

University Weekly essentials* Rent in halls – self catered per week Bus pass – per week Cost of beer (5 pints) Cost of wine (2 bottles) TOTAL
University of Leicester £68.22 £91 £8.00 £15.25 £14.00 £196.47
University of Nottingham £70.23 £100 £12.00 £14.90 £10.00 £207.13
University of Cardiff £92.75 £94 £13.25 £16.10 £11.00 £227.10
University of Southampton £97.33 £96 £6.67 £16.50 £12.00 £228.50
University of Bristol £72.22 £120 £7.27 £14.50 £17.00 £230.99
The University of Edinburgh £83.30 £106 £15.75 £16.90 £13.08 £235.03
University of Liverpool £74.00 £129 £8.20 £13.40 £10.80 £235.40
University of Leeds £87.00 £113 £12.40 £12.00 £12.00 £236.40
University of Plymouth £82.78 £119 £9.50 £15.50 £14.00 £240.78
University of Sheffield £84.65 £121 £12.40 £13.50 £12.00 £243.55
University of Glasgow £102.50 £106 £12.00 £13.75 £10.00 £244.25
University of Kent (Canterbury) £87.80 £124 £6.25 £17.00 £12.00 £247.05
The University of Cambridge £87.77 £118 £12.50 £17.50 £11.98 £247.75
University of Newcastle £123.25 £87 £12.33 £13.50 £12.00 £248.08
University of Warwick (Coventry) £105.00 £118 £7.73 £12.50 £12.00 £255.23
University of Manchester £93.63 £131 £10.85 £15.00 £12.00 £262.48
University of Birmingham £133.00 £121 £8.53 £12.90 £14.00 £289.43
University of Sussex (Brighton) £135.00 £120 £7.67 £17.00 £11.98 £291.95
The University of Oxford £120.25 £137 £15.50 £20.40 £17.80 £310.95
UCL/Imperial £155.76 £106 £21.11 £18.25 £14.00 £315.12

Andy Mielczarek, head of retail products at HSBC says: “As students celebrate their results and confirm their place at university, it’s important they think ahead to how much they’ll need to spend each week, both on essentials and their social life. Keeping to a budget will pay dividends in the long run and will ensure students don’t leave with a financial hangover. For parents, explaining the financial implications of university with students is an important step. Planning early and regular saving will make the financial burden of university much easier to manage.”

Head North East for cheaper halls

For first-year students, the most cost effective halls can be found in Newcastle, where the average weekly cost of self-catered halls is just £87. Close behind are the universities of Leicester and Cardiff, where students can expect to pay £91 and £94 each week respectively. The most expensive self-catered halls can be found at the University of Oxford, costing £137 per week.

The cost of living comes down considerably after the first year of study, when students can make the most of private rental accommodation. While the University of Leicester comes out top for second year students, Cardiff offers the cheapest weekly rental rates at £61 per week, closely followed by Leicester (£64) and Coventry (£66).

Table 2: Cost of living for second-year students

University Weekly essentials Rent – student house – per week Bus pass – per week Weekly cost of beer (5) Weekly cost of wine (2) TOTAL
University of Leicester £68.22 £64 £8.00 £15.25 £14.00 £168.97
University of Liverpool £74.00 £68 £8.20 £13.40 £10.80 £173.90
University of Nottingham £70.23 £76 £12.00 £14.90 £10.00 £182.63
University of Bristol £72.22 £82 £7.27 £14.50 £17.00 £192.49
University of Cardiff £92.75 £61 £13.25 £16.10 £11.00 £193.60
University of Leeds £87.00 £72 £12.40 £12.00 £12.00 £194.90
University of Sheffield £84.65 £74 £12.40 £13.50 £12.00 £196.05
University of Plymouth £82.78 £75 £9.50 £15.50 £14.00 £196.78
University of Manchester £93.63 £70 £10.85 £15.00 £12.00 £200.98
University of Kent £87.80 £79 £6.25 £17.00 £12.00 £202.05
University of Warwick £105.00 £66 £7.73 £12.50 £12.00 £202.73
The University of Edinburgh £83.30 £79 £15.75 £16.90 £13.08 £207.53
University of Southampton £97.33 £77 £6.67 £16.50 £12.00 £209.00
University of Glasgow £102.50 £88 £12.00 £13.75 £10.00 £226.25
University of Newcastle £123.25 £70 £12.33 £13.50 £12.00 £230.58
University of Birmingham £133.00 £78 £8.53 £12.90 £14.00 £245.93
The University of Cambridge £87.77 £118 £12.50 £17.50 £11.98 £247.75
The University of Oxford £120.25 £76 £15.50 £20.40 £17.80 £249.95
University of Sussex £135.00 £95 £7.67 £17.00 £11.98 £266.65
UCL/Imperial £155.76 £144 £21.11 £18.25 £14.00 £353.12

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