Students living off-campus travel an average of 22 miles - 11 miles each way - to attend lectures or tutorials, with one in eight (13 per cent) of students facing a daily round-trip of 40 miles or more, according to a report by the banking group Santander.
Those students who travel 40 miles or more spend an average of £100 a month on their daily commute, the study says.
It uses data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency for 2010-11, which cover about 1.35 million students, and a YouthSight survey of 1,000 full-time undergraduate students.
The average cost of student travel to and from university is now about £600 a year, the report says.
Twenty per cent of students who live away from home also say they are considering accommodation that is further away from their university campus for next year to save money.
Hetal Parmar, head of banking at Santander, which has branches at many UK universities, said: “Not all students can afford to live near their university and many face a time-consuming and costly commute.
“The cost of attending university puts most students under a great deal of financial pressure, so having to cover the rising cost of transport is likely to be a real burden.” Students are spending a collective £640 million per year commuting to and from university, the research concludes.