How much does it cost to study in the UK’s most popular university cities?

When we say ‘most popular university cities’, we’re talking enrolment figures here, not the best night out in Britain. Unsurprisingly, The Open University takes the top spot for student enrolment, but we figure this is a bit of a cheat in geographical terms.\r\n\r\nAsk any student why they chose the university they did and you’ll be met with the obvious answers. Course choice, rankings and entry requirements are typically mentioned and, for some of us, we’d even cite ‘a feeling’ for explaining why we headed off to Manchester as opposed to Liverpool. Sometimes a student city just wins us over.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBut, even before fees increased, most students were factoring in living costs before picking their firm and insurance choice universities. Now that fees have increased, saving money over the course of your degree is more important than ever before.\r\n\r\nThis is by no means an economic analysis – we know that living costs can vary due to a number of reasons i.e. a badly placed Waitrose within tempting distance from your halls. But, we’ve taken some of the most important measures of cost (such as rent and transport) and a few which will serve us well (average pint prices – lager) to determine how much we’d really be forking out to live in our favourite student cities.\r\n

The University of London

\r\nThis year, London has been found to be the most expensive city in the world. In 2015 this might change, but if property price scare-mongering is anything to go by, we’d say probably not. The University of London still has the most students despite the costs, but this encompasses numerous institutions such as Goldsmiths and LSE, going some way to explaining why the student numbers are more than 3 times that of the University of Manchester.\r\n\r\nStudying in London is never going to be a cheap option, but it’s not like you’re looking for a flat in Mayfair right? We’ve taken a peek at the 2014/2015 rent prices for University of London residential halls. It may pleasantly surprise you… or just shock you…\r\n\r\nTypical cost of student rent: While a double room in one UoL hall will cost you a whopping £276.50 per week, it is also possible to secure a small single room in another UoL hall for a reasonable £78.40 per week. For a single room a realistic figure seems to be around £150-£200 per week, but investigate and find out what’s available to you – amidst the sky high prices, there’s reasonable deals too – just keep in mind how far you’re willing to travel to uni each day.\r\n\r\nAverage cost of a pint: According to Pint Price (.com), the average cost of a pint is £3.68\r\n\r\nStudent bus fare: With an 18+ Student Oyster Photocard, a 7 day bus and tram pass is £14.10\r\n

University of Manchester

\r\nNaturally, we’re biased about Manchester with our flagship office being based here, but we know that the city has lots to offer students. We’re big on culture, close to the peak district and have a great social scene – it’s not all clubbing either – try a night on the snow at Chill Factore or visit one of our many free museums.\r\n\r\nManchester University is the second most populated university in the UK and Manchester Metropolitan University is the fifth. Along with our other two universities (Manchester and Salford) and numerous other colleges, it is estimated that around 350,000 students live and study within an hour’s drive of the city. With a cosmopolitan vibe, world-leading institutions and reasonable living costs, Manchester has also become a bit of a job hub, with the BBC (MediaCity) being one of the most recent institutions to set up shop here.\r\n\r\nSo what’s it going to cost you?\r\n\r\nCost of student rent: (As advised by the The University of Manchester)\r\n\r\nUndergraduate self-catering halls (2013/2014) – £4,620 for 40 weeks. £5,145 for 52 weeks (postgraduate). This works out at £115.50 and just over £98 per week respectively.\r\n\r\nRents in private shared houses can be considerably lower than this at around £65-£70 per week.\r\n\r\nAverage cost of a pint: £3\r\n\r\nStudent bus fare: £1.40 for a single fare, £4.00 for a day rider.\r\n

Sheffield Hallam University

\r\nSheffield can accurately be described as the biggest village in the UK. It’s loaded with ‘nouveau industrial’ style, there’s greenery everywhere you look and the crime figures are low. Popular student living areas also tend to me more concentrated, meaning that you get a real ‘student community’ feel in both halls and private student accommodation.\r\n\r\nThere are two universities in Sheffield (The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University) and Hallam has the highest student enrolment figure (third in the UK). Living costs are fairly low, however the cost of first year halls can be quite high. Many students enjoy paying rent at half the rate when they move into shared houses in their second and third years!\r\n\r\nAverage cost of rent: Sheffield University provide a fantastic breakdown of rents in popular student areas. While as a first year this will be baffling, by second year you’ll probably know exactly where you want to be. Average costs are around £68 per week for a shared house in popular student suburbs. Rents in first year halls are usually around £80-£120, depending on whether you want en-suite accommodation or not.\r\n\r\nRents in the city centre are higher than the outskirts at around £105 per week for an en-suite room in a shared flat.\r\n\r\nAverage cost of a pint: £2.70\r\n\r\nStudent bus fare: £1 for a single journey\r\n\r\n

University of Nottingham

\r\n\r\nHome to Robin Hood and thousands and thousands of students. Nottingham has a great reputation and considerable international reach – did you know they have campuses in both China and Malaysia? Aside from being an academic powerhouse, the city has plenty to offer students. Incidentally it’s a popular hen night destination, so if you like great eateries, pubs and clubs there’s bound to be something to please.\r\n\r\nAverage cost of rent: As informed by Notting Trent University: Halls – Typically £105 per week. On average a private shared house will cost £77.50 per week, but realistically you should be expecting to pay around £65-£70.\r\n\r\nAverage cost of a pint: £3\r\n\r\nStudent bus fare: £1 for a single with student discounts also available.\r\n\r\nAs we said, this is by no means a definitive guide and if you have an obsession with Topshop then every student city is going to cost you an arm and a leg. But this should give you a guide when you’re totalling up those costs you need to live and have a great time.\r\n\r\nFor more information about student life in the UK and beyond, please visit our ‘study in the UK’ page. We’re also brimming with information on studying in Canada, the US, Australia and Ireland – take a look and feel free to get in touch.