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Most and least affordable university cities revealed

Sharp increases in supermarket spending and rents are adding to cost pressures for students, according to NatWest.

Vicky Shaw
Friday 06 August 2021 00:01 BST
NatWest has looked at the affordability of university cities (Chris Ison/PA)
NatWest has looked at the affordability of university cities (Chris Ison/PA) (PA Archive)

Sheffield has been identified as the most affordable city for students in a study while London has been named as the least.

NatWest which has published a 2021 student living index, found typical monthly living and accommodation costs in London, including rent, socialising, clothes, bills, groceries and takeaways,  exceed average incomes for students – meaning some may be taking on additional borrowing to get by.

It looked at 21 university cities across Britain.

The study found that overall, sharp increases in supermarket spending and rents are adding to cost pressures for students, although spending on gigs, theatres and clubs has fallen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A tram outside Sheffield Cathedral (Tim Goode/PA) (PA Archive)

With Covid-19 causing universities across the UK to take teaching online, the research found that almost a third (31%) of students were very dissatisfied with the value of their online teaching this semester.

When it came to budgeting, more than half (55%) of students used an app to help manage their finances, the report found.

Andy Nicholson, head of NatWest student accounts, said: “The cost of being a student is increasing, making it more important than ever that students properly manage their finances.”

Here are the results of NatWest’s student living index, ranking the most expensive cities to the least. The index was calculated by dividing average monthly accommodation and living costs by average incomes:

1. London, 1.1

2. Leeds 0.99

=3. Bristol, 0.98

=3. York, 0.98

5. Liverpool, 0.96

6. Cardiff, 0.91

7. Canterbury, 0.90

8. Edinburgh, 0.88

9. Coventry, 0.84

=10. Southampton, 0.83

=10. Newcastle, 0.83

12. Manchester, 0.80

13. Leicester, 0.78

=14. Nottingham, 0.77

=14. Durham, 0.77

=14. Exeter, 0.77

17. Birmingham, 0.76

18. Oxford, 0.73

19. Glasgow, 0.72

20. Cambridge, 0.70

21. Sheffield, 0.67

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