Going Higher: On a shoestring - but the living is still easy

Those on a tight budget - and that's the majority of students these days - will revel in the discovery that accommodation, nightlife and even food is much cheaper than in the south-east. The quality of life, however, is just as high, writes Diana Appleyard

ONE OF the major benefits of choosing a university in the Midlands is that accommodation and the cost of living is very cheap compared to London.

There may not be the same vast array of cultural activities available as in the capital, but in the main cities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Leicester a venue for every taste, from the highbrow to the rave scene, is on offer.

In Birmingham you can expect to pay between pounds 30 and pounds 35 for a room in a flat.

At the University of Birmingham, hall accommodation is available in the first year - in mixed halls, an all-male college called Lake and an all- female college, Wyddrington.

Aston University also offers good hall accommodation in the first year and has a campus in Handsworth Wood called The Village.

The University of Central England recently embarked on a massive extension to its hall accommodation in Perry Barr. The main student areas to live in the city are Selly Oak, Stirchley, Balsall Heath and Harbourne.

Of the four, Harbourne is by far the most up-market, with lots of large white houses and excellent flats. Expect to pay the most there - up to pounds 50 per week for a room.

Balsall Heath has long held a reputation as being the red-light area of the city, but the council, police and residents have made a concerted effort to drive away the prostitutes and drug pushers, and it is now becoming a very pleasant area to live, with lots of families and small, busy shops.

Selly Oak is also pretty and the nearest to the University of Birmingham - again, accommodation is slightly more expensive here in the wide tree- lined streets near to Edgbaston cricket ground and the BBC studios at Pebble Mill.

For easy meals, you cannot beat the good old curry house, where you can enjoy a vast meal for as little as pounds 5. Some are not licensed so you have to take your own booze.

The city now has a thriving evening scene with numerous clubs, bars and pubs, and the city centre has pretty well every major chain store you can think of. For interesting second-hand clothes shops, try Moseley.

In nearby Wolverhampton, the cost of a room is between pounds 30 and pounds 35 per week. The pubs are very cheap, and beer in the union would set you back just pounds 1.20 a pint. The cost of living here is estimated to be three per cent below average.

Coventry may no longer offer many architectural gems, but one big benefit is that, again, the cost of living is very cheap. Expect to pay around pounds 35 per week for a room once you have left halls, and the University of Coventry has one big draw - a four-level bar/club/gig venue called Planet.

At the University of Warwick students either choose to live in nearby Earlsdon, or they plump for the leafier surrounds of Leamington Spa - about 20 minutes away on the bus. Flats cost a bit more here.

Travelling south, a large proportion of students choose to live on campus at Worcester, where the student union, the Hangar Bar, is a big draw. Flats in the city would cost you around pounds 40-pounds 45 per week (some very nice houses indeed) and there are many cheap places to eat out in theme bars.

In Stafford, rooms in a flat would cost you around pounds 35 per week. Hall accommodation at the university in Stoke is plentiful - with six on-campus halls, 30 six-bedroom houses on Leek Road and in Stafford there are now more than 600 ensuite rooms in Stafford Court.

In Keele, accommodation is mostly on campus - the cost of living here is around pounds 40 per week - and in Derby city rents are also around pounds 35 per week. In Nottingham city, rents are about pounds 40 per week, and most students live in the Lenton, Beeston and Radford areas.

Lenton is reckoned to be the best area, nearest to lively shops, pubs and restaurants. Cost of living here is quite high - one per cent above average, and you can bank on spending around pounds 55 per week after you have paid for your flat.

In Leicester, accommodation is plentiful and very cheap.

Flats at about pounds 34 per week per room, cost of living pounds 40 per week and there are also masses of cheap restaurants, many ethnic.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

    £60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    General Cover Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

    Maths Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

    Maths Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?