Top 25 most affordable university cities in UK

Most students rely on loans as their main source of income, according to RBS Student Living Index

September 3, 2015
Source: iStock

Belfast is the most affordable place to study, according to a ranking of university cities based on living costs and earning potential.

Northern Ireland’s capital is closely followed by Southampton and Nottingham as cities which provide a combination of low living costs and the potential for term-time jobs, according to the RBS Student Living Index

On average, students spend 27.5 hours a week studying, 12.5 hours socialising and 4.5 hours in part-time work, the survey found. Students at Cambridge and Oxford spend the most time studying, while those at Southampton work the longest hours and receive the most term-time income. Overall, more than two-fifths of students do not have a term-time job.

Students at Cambridge, Liverpool and Leicester came out top regarding the amount they spend on sports and fitness activities, while Liverpool, Leicester and Birmingham are the cities where students spend the most on hobbies and interests.

More money is spent on going out and socialising in Oxford, Cambridge and Newcastle than anywhere else, according to the report.

The index was based on a survey of 2,486 students and took into account average weekly expenditure across several categories including rent, groceries, going out, health and fitness.

Student Living Index 2015: most affordable university cities 

City 2015 rank 2014 rank
Belfast 1 9
Southampton 2 15
Nottingham 3 20
Edinburgh 4 3
Manchester 5 7
Dundee 6 11
Sheffield 7 14
Reading 8 8
Glasgow 9 1
London 10 6
Plymouth 11 16
York 12 24
Liverpool 13 22
Portsmouth 14 5
Norwich 15 12
Brighton 16 2
Leicester 17 18
Bristol 18 21
Newcastle 19 23
Cardiff 20 25
Exeter 21 17
Birmingham 22 4
Leeds 23 10
Cambridge 24 13
Oxford 25 19

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Reader's comments (1)

The most affordable for young people from poor backgrounds is the nearest, which looks increasingly like their destinations in the future. Even so, they will be working for cash in the service industry to contain their costs. VCs should consider that position in more detail rather than 'investing' in their estates - or is that purely motivated by attracting international undergrads?

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