University housing costs more than half of student loan
The majority of students (60%) spend more than half of their student loan on housing, according to new research from Uniplaces.
Worryingly, the student accommodation website found that 17% of students spend more than their entire loan on accommodation.
But many of those about to start an undergraduate course are unaware of just how much housing will set them back.
The research showed that freshers are not budgeting enough for housing — the average cost of a room in a hall of residence is £543 per month, but one in three think they will only have to pay £400 per month.
Halls or houses?
Uniplaces’s research into the costs of private housing and university halls found that the average weekly cost for a bedroom in a shared, privately-rented house, is £97, while the average weekly cost of a top 20 university halls of residence is £136.
Unsurprisingly, it’s more expensive in London, as the city lays dubious claim to the highest university housing costs, regardless of type of accommodation. The average weekly cost of London’s halls of residence is £170, while private shared housing is £164 a week, leaving students with a weekly deficit of at least £14.
By contrast, the city in the UK with the cheapest housing costs is St Andrews in Scotland, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge studied. Here students can find private housing at £50 a week, while halls of residence cost £100.
The average weekly cost of a shared private house in the North of England is £62.50, while halls of residence are £123. Sheffield and York were found to have some of the cheapest private rent per person in the country.
Ben Grech, CEO and co-founder of Uniplaces said: “There is a major discrepancy in the student cost of living across the country, and that while £150 per week may be more than you need in the North, in the South the housing is more expensive and it will push the upper limits of any student’s budget.
“A lot of young people are relying on their student loans to get them a place to live. It is a concern that so many students are getting further into debt just to keep a roof over their head and leaving no spare cash for them to actually enjoy life as a student.”
For the freshers about to start their university journey, halls of residence remain the preferred choice of accommodation, with almost 80% of students stating this as their intended type of housing. However, these first year students could save £2,000 a year if they chose to switch to a private house share with friends/classmates, said Uniplaces.