Durham University named best value for students, according to MoneySupermarket research

With average graduate debt totalling £40,000, insurance expert emphasises importance of budgeting and smart money management for new and returning students

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The Independent Online

Students who haven’t quite made their mind up yet about which university to head to have only one more week left to take advantage of the Clearing process and those who need a helping hand with their choice can thank the team at MoneySupermarket.

The UK’s leading price comparison website has undertaken new research to reveal the best and not-so-best value for money universities in the UK, with Durham in the north east of England taking the top spot as the institution where the pound goes the furthest, up from fifth place on last year.

The team analysed the country’s top 20 universities – using data obtained from The Complete University Guide rankings – to analyse the worth of car and home insurance, car and house crime rates, accommodation prices – and the cost of a pint.

Exeter took second spot for best value, followed by Royal favourite St Andrews, as Oxford, London School of Economics, and University College London (UCL) paved the way for the most expensive universities in the UK:

Students heading to Lancaster this month will benefit from the cheapest home contents insurance at £58 a year, while Warwick boasts the best value accommodation, costing just £93 a week.

Undergraduates in London will, unsurprisingly, face higher costs; those studying at UCL will pay a staggering £185 a week for accommodation, and students at Imperial College will pay the highest annual home contents insurance premiums at £106.

Undergrads in Durham will find the cheapest pint (£2.10), while those studying close to the capital in Surrey will pay the most (£5.25). Loughborough offers the lowest-cost car insurance at just £596 annually – a stark contrast to those attending university in London, who will again see higher costs, with car insurance costing between £1,457 to £1,617 annually.

Kevin Pratt, insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, described how going to university is life changing and managing the financial commitment is a major part of the steep learning curve.

He said: “Although tuition fees don’t vary a huge amount among the top universities, the cost of accommodation and bills – and even the price of a pint – differ dramatically.

“It makes sense for anyone attending university to  think about how to make the most of their money, and that means seeking out the best value deals for their car and contents insurance, as well as tracking down the best student bank account.”

Although Durham University gives undergraduates the best deal on living costs, Mr Pratt added: “With average debt totalling £40,000 for most graduates these days, budgeting and smart money management has never been so important, wherever you decide to study.”

With regards to crime rates, car insurance claims were the highest in Edinburgh, 20.8 per 1,000 claims, and lowest in Loughborough (4.3 per 1,000). Leeds ranked highest for claims for home theft, with a rate of 37.8 per 1,000 claims, while students at St Andrews were less likely to make a claim on their home insurance for burglary, with just 6.5 per 1000 claims made for theft in the Scottish town.

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