Second the best? London just misses out on being voted best student city in the world

Despite its cost, London's reputation as a global hub for culture and study is (practically) unrivalled

Tom Mendelsohn
Wednesday 20 November 2013 12:43 GMT
(Diliff/Wiki Commons)

London has been named the second best city for students in the world.

The capital, which is home to 22 universities and dozens more student institutions, was pipped into second place by Paris, which pinched the top spot for the second year running in global rankings drawn up by the QS Best Student Cities.

Manchester and Edinburgh also made it into the top 50 cities in the world for students, in 29th and 32 place respectively.

The QS guide described London as “a nerve-centre of global academia”, describing “world class facilities” like The British Library, as well as its legendary status as a worldwide hub for culture, creativity, nightlife and diversity.

The one caveat? “When it comes to affordability, the picture is not quite so bright.”

Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, said: "London, Manchester and Edinburgh all scored over 90 points for student mix, which highlights the UK's continued popularity as a study destination among international students.

"A university experience is intrinsically influenced by the location, especially for international students."

Paris, which has 17 world-ranked universities, came top by just two points, due to its mixture of “relatively low tuition fees”, a “vast range of employers” – and the fact that it is “one of the world’s most historic, culturally vital and beautiful cities”.

“Students in Paris often enjoy extensive access to leading academics, with small class sizes and intensive teaching, despite the low fees. Paris is frequently rated as one of the most liveable cities in Europe, and scores well for quality of living.”

Other cities in the top 10 are Singapore, Sidney, Zurich, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Boston, Montreal and Munich, while Dublin comes in at 15.

Manchester is known for its music scene, as well as arts and “excellent nightlife”, while Edinburgh wins plaudits for its history, its “massive annual events” and for the tuition fees that the Scottish Government subsidises.

In order to be considered in the rankings, compiled by the team behind QS World University Rankings, cities must have a population of over 250,000 and must have at least two ranked institutions in the QS World University Rankings. On this basis, 98 cities in the world qualify.

The top 50 are selected based on their scores in five categories. The “university rankings” category looks at the performance of a city's universities in the QS World University Rankings. The “student mix” category considers the student community, including the ratio and volume of international students.

The “employer activity” category looks at which cities are thought by employers to produce the best graduates. The “quality of living” category is based on the Mercer Quality of Living Survey and the Global and World Cities index.

Finally, the “affordability” category is based on cost of tuition fees, the Big Mac Index (retail prices), the iPad Index (how much an iPad costs) and the Mercer Cost of Living Index.

The full list is available here.

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