'Best value universities in the UK' revealed

Loughborough University provides the best return on investment for students, an independent study finds

April 12 2017

Loughborough University is the best value university for students in the UK, according to a new analysis.

The table, released by business consultancy Expert Market, cross-referenced the expenses associated with attending university – including tuition fees, accommodation and even the price of a pint – with the average income and opportunities available to students after graduating from each institution in the UK.

A weighted ranking was then applied to each factor, and the results claim to show which universities give students the best return on their investment.

Loughborough University topped the list due to its low living costs and excellent graduate prospects. The university also came joint first with the University of Warwick for the cheapest annual food costs.


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Richard Taylor, Loughborough University’s chief operating officer, said it was “pleasing to see it independently confirmed that Loughborough offers its students the best return on their educational investment".

With the exception of the University of Bath, the 10 best-value universities are mostly in the North and the Midlands. The University of Bath scored well for graduate prospects which balanced out its fairly high living costs.

Two Welsh universities featured in the top 10 (Cardiff University and Swansea University) as did two Scottish universities (St Andrews and Dundee).

Both Cambridge and Oxford failed to make the top 10. Despite having excellent opportunities for graduates, both locations are expensive places to live. It will also come as no surprise that London universities were absent from the top 20, due to the high living costs in the capital.  

The highest-ranked London university was St George’s, University of London in 21st place. As a medical school, graduate prospects are among the best in the country, counteracting the increased cost of living in London.

Adelle Kehoe, head of research at Expert Market, said: “This is the first study of its kind to rank universities based on the return on investment they offer. Tuition fees have risen more than 200 per cent since 2007, so return on investment is more important than ever.

“Our study takes into account a broad spectrum of concerns for the prospective student to give a realistic picture of what that establishment has to offer, so that hopefully they can make a more informed decision.”

Rank University
1 Loughborough University
2 Keele University
3 University of Warwick
4 Newcastle University
5 Cardiff University
6 University of Nottingham
7 University of St Andrews
8 University of Bath
9 Swansea University
10 University of Dundee
11 University of Southampton
12 University of Cambridge
13 University of Manchester
14 Durham University
15 University of Exeter
16 Lancaster University
17 University of Kent
18 University of Sussex
19 Robert Gordon University
20 Harper Adams University
21 St George's, University of London
22 University of Sheffield
23 University of Birmingham
24 University of Surrey
25 University of Huddersfield
26 University of Glasgow
27 Aston University
28 University of Hull
29 University of Cumbria
30 University of Leicester
31 King's College London
32 University of East Anglia
33 University of Strathclyde
34 University of Aberdeen
35 University of Leeds
36 University of Edinburgh
37 University of Bristol
38 University of York
39 Northumbria University
40 Abertay University
41 University of Liverpool
42 Heriot-Watt University
43 De Montfort University
44 Imperial College London
45 University of Reading
46 Glyndwr University
47 University of Hertfordshire
48 University of Essex
49 Royal Agricultural University
50 Leeds Trinity University
51 Edge Hill University
52 University of Oxford
53 Queen's University Belfast
54 University College London
55 University of Lincoln
56 University of Northampton
57 Sheffield Hallam University
58 Edinburgh Napier University
59 University of Portsmouth
60 Bangor University

The table and further information can be viewed here.

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