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The UK's Cheapest University Cities

University students leaving home for the first time face a bit of a learning curve. In most cases, it’s their first experience of living away from home. Immediately, they become financially responsible for every decision.

That’s why it’s important to understand long-term financial commitment. Part of the financial commitment of being a student is looking at the broader cost of each university location. Some are more expensive than others.


What Are the Best Universities for Stretching the Finances?

The universities were rated on multiple issues from the cost of rent, the cost of living, part-time job earnings, and the student loan value. They also look at the funding source – parents, loans, and part-time work. London students tend to live at home and therefore rely far less on loans.



Hull is considered the top VFM university according to a recent report from the National Westminster Bank. It was the 4th cheapest rent wise, and the 3rd highest rated on term-time income from jobs, worked out at £1,316.60. Hull is a great choice for students on a limited budget. Finally, the income from loans is higher than average for term time.



By term-time income, Cardiff was only just behind Hull. By rent, it was 5th cheapest. At £70 cheaper than the UK average for student accommodation, this represents a great cost saving. However, due to combined factors, Cardiff was rated highest overall. It came top in several categories.



The Russell Group University came second overall. As a vibrant university city with high employment, it had the highest overall income for students. However, due to a high cost of living, students in Bristol rely the most on student loans. It’s an attractive arty city and people traverse the country to study there.



Leicester is a great and prestigious university. With the third lowest in terms of accommodation costs, the fourth highest for term time income and the lowest for social expenses, it came third for the year due to consistency among top performers. Unlike most of its peers, it had no low ratings although it did not top the table for anything.



Fourth in the Student Living Index, the south coast university performed well in several important categories. It was fifth highest for term time income, and fourth highest for university choice made on subject choice. It was a middling university for rent – making it average cost of living, and average again for household bills.


How to Choose a University?

Such annual reports can only give a guide based on cost of living, support, and how to stretch finance. Where you study should never be decided on cost alone. However, it can be a useful guide if students are torn between two otherwise comparable universities.