These Are The UK’s Most (& Least) Affordable Cities For Students

Photographed by Kieran Boswell
Sheffield has been named the most affordable city for students, while in news that will shock no one, London has been named the least.
That's according to the NatWest Student Living Index 2021, which compared the cost of living in 21 of the UK's university cities. In fact, the report found that London is so unaffordable for students that the cost of living there actually exceeds the average monthly income.
By contrast, the cities of Cambridge, Glasgow, Oxford and Birmingham were all found to be relatively affordable for students.
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Across the UK, students take on an average of 14 hours of part-time work each week to top up their personal incomes, the report found.
Meanwhile, 31% of students said they were very dissatisfied with the value of online education they are receiving. This figure has dropped slightly since last year, when 37% said they were very dissatisfied.
The report also underscores the fact that Gen Z are especially sensible when it comes to money. Some 59% of students said they try to stick to a monthly budget, while a further 25% said that though they don't budget, they aren't frivolous with their spending.
Andy Nicholson, head of NatWest student accounts, said in response to the findings: "The cost of being a student is increasing, making it more important than ever that students properly manage their finances."
The Natwest Student Living Index 2021 follows a report published in March which found that 11% of students are behind on their rent and in arrears
R29 and Vice are joining the National Union of Students to call for all students to be offered rent rebates and asking the government to bring back maintenance grants for students from low income backgrounds. Click here to find out more about the Support Students Now initiative.
The full affordability rankings are below – with the least affordable city at the top and the most affordable at the bottom. The number after each city represents the proportion of a student's income eaten up by cost of living alone.
1. London: 1.1
2. Leeds: 0.99
3. Bristol: 0.98
3. York: 0.98
5. Liverpool: 0.96
6. Cardiff: 0.91
7. Canterbury: 0.90
8. Edinburgh: 0.88
9. Coventry: 0.84
10. Southampton: 0.83
10. Newcastle: 0.83
12. Manchester: 0.80
13. Leicester: 0.78
14. Nottingham: 0.77
14. Durham: 0.77
14. Exeter: 0.77
17. Birmingham: 0.76
18. Oxford: 0.73
19. Glasgow: 0.72
20. Cambridge: 0.70
21. Sheffield: 0.67

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