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Student News

How much is student accommodation?

We all know rent gobbles up a huge chunk of Maintenance Loans – but which students have to fork out the most? And which get the best deal? Use our table to find out!

unis with the most expensive rent

Credit: David Iliff - Wikimedia

Rent costs are the bane of most students' lives – as soon as that Maintenance Loan drops in your account, you can guarantee the majority of it is going to be hoovered up by rent costs pretty quickly.

But there's no denying some students have it worse off than others. Depending on which university you choose to go to, the rent costs you'll face can differ drastically.

In our recent National Accommodation Survey, we uncovered which students pay the most in rent and, somewhat surprisingly, not all of the universities with the highest costs are in London. But where does your university rank on the rent chart? Read on to find out...

Check out our interview with a guy whose rent, when combined with his flatmates, was £2,275 for the student house from hell.

Which universities have the highest rent?

student houses Headingley

Credit: John Seb Barber - Flickr

The average amount students pay for rent in the UK is £146 per week – which works out at around £633 per month.

As you may expect, the uni with the students paying the most in rent is based in London – or at least part of it is, anyway. The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has two campuses, one in London and one just north of the city, and it's likely the one in the capital that hauls the average rent figure up to a whopping £1,122 a month (almost 1.8 times the national average)!

In fact, all of the other top five most expensive unis – Ravensbourne, Reading, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Rose Bruford – are situated in (or very close to) London. In the case of the top four, the average weekly rent is £200 or higher, with rent at the fifth most expensive university (Rose Bruford) just beneath that figure at £199.

Both the South East and South West of England are also expensive places to live as a student. Many of the non-London universities towards the top of the table can be found in this region, including the University of Sussex (£178 a week), the University of Surrey (£175 a week) and the University of Exeter (£161 a week).

Cheapest universities for accommodation

row of terraced housing

Credit: Manchesterphotos - Wikimedia

Tied as the joint-cheapest universities to live at are Falmouth University and the University of Dundee, with students at both universities reporting an average weekly rent of just £72 (about half the national average).

In fact, the cheaper end of the table is almost entirely dominated by universities based in the Midlands, North of England and Scotland.

Students at six universities reported an average rent of less than £100 a week, with just a small handful of the other cheapest unis for rent being based in the South East or London – the University for the Creative Arts (£118 a week) and Buckinghamshire New University (£120 a week) among the very few.

For a comprehensive picture of the cost of rent at universities across the UK, including your own, search our table below.

Rent costs by university

UniversityAverage weekly rent (£)
Royal Veterinary College259
Ravensbourne226
Reading221
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine200
Rose Bruford College199
King's College London191
Writtle College190
Royal Holloway182
Sussex178
London South Bank176
Goldsmiths175
Surrey175
Oxford174
Manchester171
Birkbeck170
Imperial College London168
Bournemouth166
York166
Norwich University of the Arts165
Middlesex164
Durham163
Winchester163
East London162
Exeter161
Oxford Brookes160
Queen Mary159
St George's, University of London157
University College London (UCL)157
Bedfordshire153
Liverpool John Moores153
Brunel*152
Conservatoire for Dance and Drama*152
Greenwich*152
Kingston*152
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)*152
Pearson College*152
Roehampton*152
SOAS*152
Westminster*152
Portsmouth152
St Andrews152
City, University of London151
Leeds151
Manchester Metropolitan University151
West London151
Brighton150
Coventry149
Cambridge148
Stirling148
Trinity St David148
University of the Arts London148
Bath*147
Bath Spa*147
Bristol*147
Plymouth Marjon*147
Royal Agricultural University*147
Buckingham*146
Canterbury Christ Church*146
Medway School of Pharmacy*146
Southampton*146
Southampton Solent*146
Trinity Laban145
Aberystwyth143
Kent142
Bangor141
East Anglia141
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland141
Chichester140
Nottingham138
Hertfordshire137
South Wales136
West of England, Bristol135
Bolton*134
Cumbria*134
Leeds Arts*134
Leeds Trinity*134
Liverpool Hope*134
Royal Northern College of Music*134
Anglia Ruskin*132
Essex*132
Lincoln132
Arts University Bournemouth131
Bishop Grosseteste*129
De Montfort*129
Northampton*129
Loughborough129
Plymouth129
Leicester128.5
Cardiff128
University College Birmingham128
Strathclyde*127
Abertay Dundee*127
Edinburgh*127
Edinburgh Napier*127
Glasgow Caledonian*127
Robert Gordon*127
West of Scotland*127
Chester127
Glasgow127
Newcastle126
Bradford*125
Heriot-Watt125
Hull125
Sheffield125
York St John125
St Mary's124
Sunderland*122
Teesside*122
Cardiff Metropolitan*121
Lancaster121
Northumbria121
Nottingham Trent121
Birmingham City University120
Buckinghamshire New University120
Salford120
Aston*119
Harper Adams*119
Keele*119
Newman*119
Staffordshire119
Edge Hill118
University for the Creative Arts118
Warwick118
Wolverhampton118
Gloucestershire117
London Metropolitan117
Leeds Beckett116
Liverpool112
Birmingham110
Derby109
Swansea106
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts105
Sheffield Hallam105
Queen Margaret104
Highlands and Islands102
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)101
Huddersfield98
Worcester98
Aberdeen96
Suffolk88
Dundee72
Falmouth72
Queen's Belfast**0
Ulster**0
National average
146

* In these instances, there were not enough respondents (or too many significant outliers) to give a reliable average. As an indicative amount, we have used the average rent for each university's region.
** There wasn't sufficient data from either university in Northern Ireland to provide a reliable average rent amount, therefore no regional amount is available.

Does the Maintenance Loan cover the cost of rent?

person using calculator

With rent prices still depressingly high, many students have complained that their Maintenance Loan just doesn't cover it.

Student rent costs an average of £633 per month, but the average Maintenance Loan is just £572. Clearly there's an issue here, and 53% of students are having to borrow money from their parents, banks and friends (among other sources) to help pay the rent.

It's perhaps not a surprise, therefore, that many students are keen to see an increase in the Maintenance Loan – a motion that we wholeheartedly support.

Students based in London receive more financial support to help them cover the capital's inflated rent costs but, as our research has found, this level of expense isn't exclusive to London.

We've previously reported on students petitioning the government to extend the 'London loan' to other regions with similarly high rent levels but, to date, there's been little sign of progress on this front.

One thing's for sure, though: each year the results of our National Student Accommodation Survey highlight just how tough it is to rent while at uni, and something needs to change – fast.

We've got a whole host of ways to decorate your bedroom on a budget, so you can turn your dingy student house into the palace you deserve.

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