Student Living Index 2018 – University Costs | Royal Bank of Scotland

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Student Living Index 2017

Student Living Index 2018

What students are spending
across the UK

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Hull takes the top spot this year as the most cost-effective city for students.

How are students spending their money in 2018?

Heading off to university for the first time is an exciting change. You’ll be leaving home and entering not only a new phase in your education, but life in a new city.

Each university city offers something different, and while you can visit a campus or read up on a course, only a current student can tell you what it’s really like living there. That’s why we created the Student Living Index.

For the fifth consecutive year, we surveyed over 3000 students across 35 university cities, to ask them the important questions you want to know. How much is their accommodation, and how much do they spend a month on food? Plus, how do they juggle their time between going out with friends and studying in the library? We covered all the bases.

So what can we learn from those that are studying in Aberdeen compared to Glasgow, or London versus Edinburgh? Take a look at the results.

The most affordable* university cities

City Ranking

Hull

1st

Cardiff

2nd

Leicester

3rd

Brighton

4th

Portsmouth

5th

Aberystwyth

6th

Sheffield

7th

Canterbury

8th

Oxford

9th

Plymouth

10th

Aberdeen

11th

Norwich

12th

Southampton

13th

Nottingham

14th

Durham

15th

Reading

16th

Leeds

17th

Bristol

18th

St. Andrews

19th

Poole

20th

York

21st

Coventry

22nd

Belfast

23rd

Newcastle

24th

Swansea

25th

Glasgow

26th

Dundee

27th

Exeter

28th

Manchester

29th

Cambridge

30th

Stirling

31st

Edinburgh

32nd

Birmingham

33rd

London

34th

Liverpool

35th

*Affordability is calculated by dividing students’ average monthly accommodation, activities and item costs by their average monthly income.

 

A closer look at the Student Living Index 2018

Student income

Aside from student loans, parents chipping in provides the biggest contribution to students’ income during term-time – topping up their income by £199.70 a month on average.

 

Income in more detail:
 

  • Students in Hull have the third highest monthly income at £1,316.60 and get to enjoy the fourth lowest rent cost at £388.75. Combined with low living costs of £375.50, this makes Hull the best value-for-money city.

  • Students in Liverpool suffer the worst value for money, with a monthly income of £1073.50 and outgoings of £486.30 on rent and £525.70 on living costs.

  • Students in Aberdeen arrive at university with the most personal savings to spend per month (£180) and, potentially as a result, use their overdrafts the least out of all students. Stirling students have the least amount of personal savings contributing to their income per month at £51.10.

  • London students receive £1,388.10 per month in income, giving them the highest monthly total, with students in York having the lowest at £993.80£228 less than the national student average.


    Remove the pressure of leaving home for the first time with our guide to moving away from home, including a closer look at becoming self-sufficient and rental advice.

Student spending

After the essentials (food, toiletries and bills) the biggest expense for students is buying alcohol*, followed by going out for dinner

 

Spending in more detail:

 

  • Students living in London pay the highest rent with a monthly average of £668.24. They spend just under the UK average on household bills, at £42.20. Students in Glasgow and Belfast pay the least rent, paying an average of £373.48 and £339.15 respectively.

  • Although students in Belfast enjoy the lowest average rent, unfortunately the same can’t be said when in the pub. They expect to pay the most for a pint, at £7.20 (well over double the UK average). For the cheapest pints, head to Durham (£2.20) or Leicester (£2.00).

  • Students in Glasgow expect to spend the most on a night out at an average of £25.60, and they also admit to spending the most on going out per month. However, 9% of students in Manchester admit to having spent over £50 the last time they went out.

  • Students in Stirling spend the most money on going out and socialising with friends per month, at £69.60 on average. Students in Newcastle spend the most on other activities and interests (£21.90), whereas students in St. Andrews and Edinburgh spend the least.

  • Students in Aberdeen spend the most money on playing sports or at the gym per month (£15.00), however this isn’t a trend across Scotland as St. Andrews students spend the least (£6.10).

  • Students in Newcastle spend the most on buying alcohol per month* at £45.70, closely followed by students in Stirling (£44.10). St. Andrews students spend their cash on alcohol the least, only spending £20.30 a month on average.


    *Excluding those who do not drink

 

Student budgeting

One third of students (33%) don’t budget, with 5% of these students not even considering what they’re spending at all

 

Budgeting in more detail:

 

  • 28% of students don’t budget, but say that they aren’t frivolous with their money.

  • 5% don’t consider what they’re spending at all when it comes to managing their finances.

  • Students in Leicester are most careful with their spending, with nearly a third saying they budget carefully (32.41%).

  • Students in Stirling have the most relaxed attitude to spending with 1 in 10 not considering what they are spending at all (10.53%).

  • Over half (52%) rate the stress of managing their money at university a 6 or above on a scale of 0 – 10, with 10 being the most stressed.

  • 14% of students said they aren’t supported at all by their university when it comes to managing finances.
    39.5% of students in Stirling said they feel no support from their university to help manage their finances.


    If you're in need of some tips for managing your money while at university, discover our budgeting advice for students.

 

Studying vs. socialising

Students choose studying over socialising, and spend three times as many hours attending lectures or in the library, than they do going out with friends

 

Studying vs. socialising in more detail:

 

  • The average student spends 90.3 hours on average a month studying for their degree and 29.7 hours a month socialising.

  • Oxbridge students spend the most time studying out of all UK universities. Those in Manchester and Stirling study the least, at 62.9 hours and 58.2 hours respectively.

  • Durham is the most social university, with students spending over 40 hours a month socialising. Students in London socialise the least at only 19.5 hours.

  • 78% of students rate the stress of studying for their degree as a 6 or above on a scale of 0 – 10, with 10 being the most stressed. Stirling students are the most stressed at university, with almost a fifth (18.42%) rating university stress a 10.

  • It was also found that the longer students spend socialising the more likely they are to enjoy studying for their degree.

Employment

The average UK student receives more from their parents each month than they do from part-time employment

 

Employment in more detail:

 

  • Students work an average of 15.3 hours a month in a part-time job; financial help from parents (£199.70) is almost double what the average student earns from term-time work (£106.50).

  • Students in Glasgow make the most money from working part-time hours on average (£192.20 per month). Scotland appears to have one of the biggest groups of working students, making Glasgow (£192.20), Stirling (£182.90) and Dundee (£174.10) in the top three for term-time income.

  • Students in Dundee also spend the most time working, across both term-time and in the holidays (25.4 hours).


    If you’re looking to boost your career before leaving university then give our guide to internships a read on the bus to your next lecture.
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Student using laptop sat on university steps

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Are you deciding which university to attend or are you currently a student in the UK?

Download the 2018 Student Living Index to find out which students are spending the most on travel, and which spend the most time studying.

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