Natwest, in partnership with independent researchers YouthSight, has published the results of a nationwide Student Living Index survey – exposing the incoming and outgoing finances of university students by region.
More than 2,400 students took part in the survey, with at least 100 participants per university area. The survey aimed to compare the current cost of living index by region versus average student cost of living and to understand the spending habits of students in 2015.
The student living index was calculated by dividing the average local weekly student expenditure on living and accommodation by the average local weekly income for working students.
Findings revealed that Belfast students are the most economical with their expenditure, closely followed by Southampton. According to the results, Oxford students are the least economical, with Cambridge also emerging as well above the national average.
Belfast has made an impressive jump from being named as one of the least economical in 2010’s survey, to the most in 2015. Last year Glasgow was number one, London coming first in 2010.
Rent is unsurprisingly a huge expenditure for students – with an average weekly rent of £85. The most expensive cities to rent in according to the survey are Oxford, Cambridge, Reading, Bristol, London and Exeter; all averaging over £100 a week. Cities outside of England are the cheapest, with Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast all coming out lower than £70 a week. Belfast is by far the cheapest city for students to live in, averaging just £46 a week, over half the cost of the top-paying cities.
Aside from rent, student’s weekly expenditure goes mainly on groceries, followed by eating out, bills, then alcohol.
The survey has also revealed average student income. Term time weekly income ranges from £48 for Southampton students to just £7 for Oxford, well below the UK average (£32).
Of the students surveyed, 44% did not have a term time job, while those that do claimed their main motivation for working was to provide additional income for their studies.
Student loans remain the source of finance which contributes most, with parents being the next largest source of income.
To see the full results of the Student Living Index 2015, click here.