Go Higher: London & The South East: Money Matters

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Indy Lifestyle Online
LONDON AND the region surrounding it is an expensive place to be a student. A lot of things cost more than they do in other parts of the country - especially accommodation, food in restaurants and transport. But transport in London has become cheaper recently to students of the capital's universities as a result of a special deal giving undergraduates and postgraduates one-third off the normal price of a travel card for the Tube and buses.

Rent is one of the biggest drains on student resources. In London itself it costs a minimum of around pounds 60 a week to rent a room in a shared house. On top of that, students have to pay utility bills and find the money for food. Most students exist on pasta and rice with some vegetables thrown in - and do so relatively cheaply by shopping at cash 'n' carry stores and ethnic vegetable stalls or street markets. One advantage of London is its diversity: prices are lower in less affluent areas.

Rooms in university halls of residence cost more or less depending on whether they come with an en suite bathroom and food. All university accommodation at the University of East London, say, is self-catering and costs from pounds 39 a week for a flat-share in Stratford, east London, to pounds 64.50 for en suite room and computer network connection in the new Docklands campus.

Prices are higher as you move into the centre. At the University of Westminster you pay pounds 63-pounds 70 a week for university rooms. At King's College London, which has halls of residence in Hampstead, Kensington, Chelsea, Waterloo and Westminster, the cost of a college room with food is pounds 82-pounds 116 a week, or pounds 50-pounds 75 without.

Nearly half of the King's College accommodation is en suite - a study bedroom with a shower, loo and fridge costing pounds 75 a week. For this price you share a communal room with a television.

Students who knock back booze can expect to hit financial problems. But they'll probably be better off buying beer in student union bars where the cost is kept to the minimum. A pint of Fosters, say, costs pounds 1.45 in the student union at the University of North London (UNL), less than in most pubs. At the University of Westminster it is pounds 1.50 and a pint of Red Stripe is pounds 1.80.

Some cinema chains offer student discounts. Virgin cuts the price of a ticket from pounds 7.90 to pounds 5 for students, Monday to Friday only. At the Holloway Odeon close to UNL, prices are reduced further, from pounds 5.50 to pounds 4 from Monday to Thursday only. Students have to produce their NUS card to get such reductions.

To get into a club in London, students have to pay a similar sum, but sometimes they can get in free. The Garage at Highbury Corner has some free nights. Other nights you pay up to pounds 5. A popular club along Oxford Street in Central London, The Metro, charges only pounds 1 on Thursday nights.

Lucy Hodges

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