Revealed: the University of Dundee is the cheapest place to be a student

words Al Woods

University costs

A new study by the international education provider Oxford Royale has revealed the University of Dundee as the cheapest city to be a student in the UK.

Researchers at Oxford Royale analysed the various costs of living in the cities home to the top 40 UK universities named by the Complete University Guide. They used data from Expatistan to find where students can live at the lowest cost. The analysis was based on the average price of student accommodation as well as prices for a pint of beer, a cocktail, a fast-food meal and a taxi fare.

The study revealed the University of Dundee to be the most affordable place for students to live, with the average student spending £157 per week overall. This is in part due to the fact that Dundee city offers the third-cheapest student accommodation in the UK, averaging at just £106 per week, and has the cheapest average taxi fares at just £10. Dundee also has the second cheapest alcohol of all the towns and cities included in the study, and the average student at the Scottish university spends £30.24 per week on both cocktails and beers.

student costs

In joint second place is Newcastle University, Northumbria University and the University of Aberdeen. Students at all three institutions have a total average weekly spend of £161. Both Newcastle University and Northumbria University are based in Newcastle, where the average weekly rent for students is £101, £5 less than Dundee. Newcastle also has the second cheapest taxi fare costing an average of £11 for a five-mile journey. At just £100 per week, Aberdeen has the lowest average student accommodation costs of all the UK universities included in the study.

In third place is the University of Liverpool. Students in Liverpool can expect to have average weekly outgoings of £170. Liverpool also offers the fourth cheapest rent for students, costing them around £109 per week.

Rounding off the top five, in a tight fourth and fifth spot is the University of Lincoln and the University of Leicester, which have an average weekly spend of £175 and £176 respectively. Lincoln has the cheapest average spending on fast food of all the universities surveyed at just £10.04 per week. And Leicester has the cheapest beer, with the average student spending just £9.09 per week on their pints.

University of Dundee

Unsurprisingly, London is the most expensive city for students to live in with an estimated total weekly spend of £302. The average weekly rent in London for a student shared flat is £211, the average cost for a five-mile taxi journey is £26, and the average weekly spending on beer is £17.16. The nine London based universities in the top 40 UK universities – the LSE, Imperial College, UCL, Kings College, Royal Holloway, Queen Mary, UAL, Ulster University (London campus), and SOAS – and they all fill the bottom spot.

Just ahead of them is the University of Sussex, where students can expect to spend an average of £271 per week. This includes an average spend of £200 a week on student accommodation and £15.48 for beer.

The University of Oxford follows closely behind the London universities and Sussex as the third most expensive place for students. In the city of dreaming of spires, there is an average total weekly spend of £234. This is £18 more than their academic rivals Cambridge, which ranks as the seventh most expensive. However, Oxford offers more affordable alcohol prices with the average alcohol spend (beers and cocktails) costing £40.47 per week, which is £3 less than Cambridge.

Shortly following Oxford, in fourth place, is Edinburgh, which has three Scottish universities in the UK top 40 – the University of Edinburgh, University of St Andrews, and Herriot Watt University. The average weekly cost in the Scottish capital is £229. This is in large part due to the average student rent being £159 per week and alcohol expenditure (beer and cocktails) averaging £42.30 per week.

Completing the bottom five most expensive cities in the UK in which to be a student, is Reading. The average student at the University of Reading spends £223 per week. This includes £161 per week on rent for student accommodation and £35.73 per week on alcohol (beer and cocktails.

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”.

Top 10 Cheapest Universities for Students

UNIVERSITY CITY Beer  (Weekly average) Cocktails (Weekly average) Fast food (Weekly average) Taxi Average rent shared flat shared bathroom Weekly Total 
University of Dundee Dundee £9.24 £21.00 £10.54 £10.00 £106 £157 
Newcastle University Newcastle £13.26 £24.00 £11.88 £11.00 £101 £161 
Northumbria University, Newcastle Newcastle £13.26 £24.00 £11.88 £11.00 £101 £161 
University of Aberdeen Aberdeen £11.58 £24.00 £10.86 £15.00 £100 £161 
University of Liverpool Liverpool £13.44 £24.00 £11.88 £12.00 £109 £170 
University of Lincoln Lincoln £11.97 £24.00 £10.04 £16.00 £113 £175 
University of Leicester Leicester £9.09 £30.00 £11.84 £11.00 £114 £176 
University of Sheffield Sheffield £11.34 £21.00 £10.10 £15.00 £122 £179 
University of Birmingham Birmingham £12.72 £24.00 £11.84 £13.00 £118 £180 
Aston University, Birmingham Birmingham £12.72 £24.00 £11.84 £13.00 £118 £180 
University of East Anglia Norwich £11.85 £24.00 £10.66 £11.00 £124 £182 
Swansea University Swansea £9.63 £16.98 £10.96 £13.00 £135 £186 
Cardiff University Cardiff £10.29 £21.00 £11.80 £11.00 £134 £188 

Source – ORA

The analysis in this article was conducted by Oxford Royale, a summer school company that allows students to be taught by unique and diverse faculty from Oxbridge academics, Ivy League lecturers, and industry professionals.


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