Get us in your inbox

Edinburgh, Scotland
Photograph: Shutterstock

Revealed: the cheapest (and most expensive) places to be a student in the UK

And no, London isn’t the spenniest

Ella Doyle
Written by
Ella Doyle

We used to talk about the weather, and now we talk about how expensive everything is. But it really is all so expensive at the minute, isn’t it? Travel is costing an arm and a leg, pints are hitting £7 a pop... and don’t even get us started on energy bills. 

But there’s one place most of us remember as always being cheap as chips: university. We’re talking three-for-one jäger bombs, burger and drinks deals, the lot. And yep, a ton of unis are still offering up enough tantalising student deals to save some of your student loan – but some of them are still looking pricey. 

New research from the NatWest Student Living Index has revealed the cheapest (and spenniest) places to be a student in the UK, and it may or may not surprise you. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Crowned the cheapest is – drum roll, please! – Cardiff. Students in the Welsh capital spend only £1,040 on average per month. Their income averages a pretty decent £2,240, so they’ve got plenty of cash to play with. 

But prospective students looking at unis, heed our warning – Edinburgh has been named as the most expensive. That’s because, while students spend around £950 a month on rent and everything else, they’re only earning an average of around £935. 

Oh, and one more thing from this key research: pints at the universities of Oxford (that’s half of Oxbridge and Brookes too) are the most expensive of all. Students can expect to have to stump up an average of £5.50 per drink, followed by London, where students expect to spend £4.90. The cheapest pints can be found in Coventry, coming in at £3.40.

ICYMI: this campaign is calling for real action on the cost-of-living crisis.

Plus: here are the cheapest cities for a pint of beer in the UK.

Latest news


    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!