As almost everyone will tell you, the university years are likely to be the best of your life. But as it stands, student living is almost always a consistent financial burden, and it can feel like deciding to go to university is the same as deciding to place your neck at the mercy of a mechanical, monetary axe. Luckily, there are always decisions you can take to relieve yourself of some of that burden if you’re (rightly) not willing to completely pull the plug on your bank account – the first of these is choosing the city you want to study in. If you’re thinking about going to uni, or even if you’re already at uni and just want to put your mind at ease, here’s a list of the ten cheapest cities in the UK for students to live in in 2023.
First, the essentials: Manchester university’s self-catered accommodation can range in price from £4,527 to £7,224 a year. There’s also lots of free museums, parks and cheap nightlife options, making it an overall affordable city to live in for students.
Leaving some leeway above and below, the average monthly rent in Nottingham is £660. Then again, the rent for student accommodation in Nottingham depends on the proximity of the city centre, and like with all accommodation costs, they can really vary.
Durham University is one of the cheapest universities to study at, with average monthly rent coming in at £806 in Gilesgate. Durham city centre is student dominated, and wherever you choose to live, you won’t be far from wherever you need to be, giving you free rein to choose a house that fits your requirements out of a wider selection. Aside from accommodation, Durham students enjoy pretty low travel fares, for instance. If they could figure out how to spend less money on alcohol, though, it might be higher on the list!
Living in catered accommodation averages at £193.97 – £271.88 per week, according to Exeter University’s website. On the other hand, self-catered accommodation at the Cornwall campus ranges anywhere between £159.32 – £197.89 per week. Their site also reminds students of extra costs, like course fees, household essentials – oh an having a social life. Nevertheless, Exeter is one of the cheapest cities to study in the UK 2023.
Birmingham is another one of the cheapest cities in the UK. The uni website puts the weekly cost to live in self catered accommodation at £8,820 a year. Alternatively, it estimates £7,308 if you live in private housing, which might be a good alternative. Find out more about student accommodation in Birmingham in our guide.
All costs here are estimated to be between £1,215 and £1,755 per month in 2022-23. It leaves a lot of leeway, though, because in most university cities, most purchases can be made deductible.
Casita estimate the cost of living for students in Sheffield to be £1,412. It’s one of the cheapest cities in the UK, given that that includes everything from rent to food. Obviously if you like to go out every night it might go up, but that’s what house parties are for!
Depending on your college, rent in Cambridge will want £400-£700 per month, which might be what makes Cambridge good value for money. That, or the fact the students will rarely leave the library…
On average, Glasgow is 43% cheaper to live in than London (according to Expatisan). UniAcco estimate the cost of living with on campus accommodation to be £1133, and off campus accommodation to be £1,073. The drinks and food costs, according to sources, however, are surprisingly low.
According to UniAcco, the monthly cost of student living in Leicester is £1105 with on campus accommodation, and £945 for off campus. This includes averages of £462 on food and groceries, £107 on utilities and £53 on transport. Everything for under a grand is a pretty good deal. This is why it’s the cheapest city to live in the UK for students, and a great one at that too!
Are you applying to university and are still stuck on where to go?
Well if you need more help deciding, we’ve put a lot of thought into the most important part of uni- the nightlife. Take a look at our Uni Rankings: The UK cities with the cheapest pints revealed.