The North
AS A general rule, the North is one of the cheapest places to live. Private rents, as well as general living costs, are much more reasonable than, say, London or the South-east. Up-to-date costs of "official" accommodation can be found in prospectuses, either in print or on the Web (but check fees are current). Almost all unis and colleges claim to give priority to freshers when it comes to allocating places in halls, or approved lodgings, but this may not be the case for late applications.

There is a high level of homogeneity for rents, with fees reflecting the services and standards of accommodation. So naturally enough, you will pay more for full board, compared to self-catering, and less if you have to share a double room.

The University of Bradford has fees from pounds 32.70 a week for self-catering, to almost double, pounds 65.60, in fully catered halls. Hull is slightly dearer, with the top fee reaching pounds 75.50 for full catering. Hull says this is a rise of 3.8 per cent on 1998-1999. Full catering may only mean breakfast and an evening meal.

Remember that you'll have to include a deposit (returnable) of about pounds 100 to cover any damage.

Entertainment costs appear to vary quite a lot, but it's rather unpredictable. Enterprising ents officers seem to manage to stage glittering nights out and charge anything from pounds 1 up to double-the-number-you-first-thought- of. Staying in occasionally is, of course, the other option!

Sooner or later you may venture out for a consoling glass of beer - but you may need to watch the prices there, too. Red Mole's survey of beer prices (www. suggests that the most expensive Northern student union is Sheffield Hallam, which charges pounds 1.30 for a pint of John Smiths. (Give thanks you're not at Aberdeen, though - it's a whopping pounds 2.20 there.) You could save a bit by heading for Sunderland, where it's only pounds 1.10, while Durham's bang in the middle at pounds 1.20.

Heather Welford


Nick Park, the man behind `Wallace and Gromit', graduated from Sheffield Hallam University