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Revealed: Top 3 Cheapest Universities for Students

New research has found the University of Dundee to be the cheapest university for students in the UK. International education provider Oxford Royale analyzed cities on the Complete University Guide’s (CUG) top 40 universities to determine which location is the cheapest place to live and study.

Using data from Expatistan, the survey focused on a list of factors, such as the average price of beer, cocktails, and fast food in each city. The survey also looked at the average taxi fare and the average cost to rent a shared flat with a shared bathroom in each city.

Based on the various factors in the survey, the average weekly cost for a student at the University of Dundee is £157. A taxi fare in Dundee costs £10, while rent for a shared flat costs a weekly average of £106. Fast food in Dundee also costs £10.54 on average per week. Combined with a weekly average of £9.24 for beer and £21 for cocktails, these costs are some of the cheapest in the country.

Students in Dundee can save £145 per week compared to students’ pay in London, which is the most expensive city to study in. Rent costs a weekly average of £211 for a shared flat in the capital city, nearly double the Dundee cost.

One of the joint second-cheapest universities to study in the UK is Newcastle University. A university student in Newcastle can expect to pay an average of £101 per week on rent for a shared flat. Other weekly costs include £13.26 for beer and £24 for cocktails. A taxi fare costs an average of £11, slightly cheaper than the £11.88 weekly average cost for fast food in the northern city.

A university student at Northumbria University has the same average weekly total as one studying at Newcastle University as both universities are located in Newcastle. Students at the University of Aberdeen also have an average weekly total of £161, which places it in joint second place as one of the cheapest university cities in the UK.

The cost of living for the average student can sometimes impact their decisions surrounding their higher education. 

Most UK students are assisted with their living costs through the maintenance loan that they are given each year of study. Eligible students are also given a tuition loan to help with their annual tuition fees. However, international students aren’t given loans, so they might look to study at some of the cheapest universities in the UK. 

International students
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Top ten cheapest universities for students

Some of the other cheap cities for students to move to for their university education include the University of Liverpool and the University of Lincoln. Students in Liverpool pay an average weekly total of £170, while students in Lincoln pay slightly more at an average of £175. The average cost of a shared flat in Liverpool will set students back £109 per week, slightly cheaper than the average £113 that Lincoln students pay.

Cocktails in seven of the ten cheapest university cities cost an average of £24.00, including in Liverpool, Lincoln, and Birmingham. The average cost of a beer in Liverpool is £13.44 and £11.97 in Lincoln, while the average weekly cost of fast food in the two cities is £11.88 and £10.04. The average taxi fare in the two cities has a larger difference of £4, as students only have to pay an average of £12 in Liverpool compared to the cost of £16 in Lincoln.

Students at the University of Leicester have an average weekly spend of £176, making it the seventh cheapest city to study in the UK. The average cost of a beer in the city is £9.09, the lowest price of any city on the list. However, the average cost of weekly cocktails is £30, which is significantly more expensive than the other nine cities in the ranking. Weekly rent costs an average of £114, and a taxi fare costs approximately £11 in Leicester.

The table below shows a breakdown of the average costs of a student in the cheapest cities to study and live in. Annual costs for all of these cities average to under £9,000. The average annual cost of living in London, the most expensive university city to study, is nearly £14,500.

Monthly rent can dramatically impact students’ living costs in the UK, which is why Oxford is one of the most expensive places to study in the UK. The city has previously been named the least affordable place to live in the country, with students paying a weekly average of £234 on rent, alcohol, and fast food.

The university cities of Sheffield, Birmingham, and Aston round up the last few places in the cheapest university cities rankings. Both the University of Birmingham and Aston University is located in Birmingham, which means that students at both institutes have the same average weekly expenditures of £180.

Rent for a shared student flat in Birmingham costs a weekly average of £118, while a taxi fare can set students back an average of £13. Students living in the city pay an average of £12.72 each week on beer, over £1 more expensive than the average weekly cost of beer in Sheffield, which comes to £11.34. University students in Sheffield also have to pay a weekly average of £122 on rent, the highest amount out of the top ten cheapest university cities.

Sheffield is cheaper than Birmingham in cocktails, as students spend a weekly average of £21 in the city. Students spend a weekly average of £10.10, the second-lowest price for fast food on the list. However, the average cost of a taxi fare in the city is £15, which is the second most expensive on the rankings list.

William Humphreys, CEO & Founder, Oxford Royale Academy (ORA), commented on the findings: “There is no doubt that students are always looking to save money living on a budget so it’s great to see that there are many areas in the UK where people at university can have a good time without breaking the bank. With rising student costs nationwide, it’s more important than ever for students to know how to manage their money, and this list can offer some guidance and insight into where their loan will stretch further”.  

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