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.

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
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Technical Manager – Heat Pumps

    £40000 Per Annum dependent on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: They ...

    Test Job

    TBC: Test Recruiter for iJobs: Job London (Greater)

    Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

    Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

    Day In a Page

    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
    Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

    From strung out to playing strings

    Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
    The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
    Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

    Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

    The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
    On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

    On the road to nowhere

    A Routemaster trip to remember
    Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

    Hotel India

    Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
    10 best pencil cases

    Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

    Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
    Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

    Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

    Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
    Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

    Pete Jenson: A Different League

    Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
    This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

    The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

    Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis