The best UK universities for accommodation (outside of London)

Being a student can mean that you save a lot of money on the cost of accommodation. According to our findings, the best university for students to save on renting accommodation is the University for the Creative Arts. Accommodation for students at this university costs on average £118 per week. Rental properties in the area cost around £345 per week, making this specialist creative university an excellent choice, with the potential to save £11,820 on rent in a year.

The next highest is the University of Winchester, where students paying £163 will save roughly £193 each week when compared to renting in the area. Anglia Ruskin University Language Centre comes in third, with students saving £7,685 each year.

While 9 of the top universities sit in the lower half of England, Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh comes in at number 8, making it the only university outside of England to place in the top ten and the highest placing Scottish university. Students save on average £106 per week, amounting to a total of £5,533 over the course of a year.

The worst UK universities for accommodation (outside of London)

The cost of being a student is high, with tuition fees and accommodation to consider when choosing the right university. Sometimes, being a student and staying in accommodation will cost you more than the area averages.

Surprisingly, four Welsh universities sit at the bottom of this table. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David comes in at the bottom of the table at 142. Students typically pay £148 per week for their accommodation, but the average weekly rent in the area at £113, which means students are paying £1,846 more each year. Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, and the University of South Wales all rank poorly for student accommodation savings.

The University of Cumbria has many campuses across the country, but its main campus in Carlisle proves to be costly. Students here pay on average £29 a week more for their accommodation. This adds up to £1,524 over a year, making it the worst English university for accommodation savings.

Scotland universities tend to be spread out across the table, but the University of Stirling has found itself in the bottom 10 of the table. Being a student in this historic city will set you back £1,092 each year in accommodation.

London accommodation vs. city living

Living in London is expensive. The average price of a pint in the city is £5.33, and so students will want to save money where they can. It turns out that being a student in London means saving a lot of money, especially if you use university accommodation or arrange a house share.

London Metropolitan University is the best not only in London but also in the UK for students looking to save. With students paying £117 per week for their accommodation, they can save £15,954 each year on the city’s average weekly rent.

While the city’s universities rank highly in this analysis, it is Kingston University London which comes in last at 29. The average student rent is £152 per week while renting in the area costs £284. The £132 saved each week adds up to £6,884 over the course of a year.

University accommodation or city living?

For some students, using university accommodation or being in a flatshare is the best option. For others, it is better to find a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre. What is surprising is the huge differences between the best and worst universities for accommodation savings.

London students are often better off in university accommodation, as the price of living in a 1-bed flat in London is much higher. However, if you are looking to go to university in Wales, you might be better off renting on your own.

For students in Scotland and England, it varies from university to university. Some, like Queen Margaret University in Scotland or the University for the Creative Arts in England, offer great deals on student accommodation. Others, such as the University of Stirling or the University of Cumbria, might cost you more.

Methodology Used For These Findings

  • The cost of university accommodation data was gathered from Save the Student, which identified the average price students were paying per university per week for accommodation. The dataset included 142 universities across the United Kingdom, with 16 in Scotland, 7 in Wales, and 119 in England.
  • The cost of living per city data was calculated from Numbeo. We took average rental costs per month for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre and divided it by four to work out the weekly rate. Where data for the exact location was not available, we utilised information from the next nearest location.
  • The rent difference was calculated by subtracting the average rent per week from the student rent per week to identify where students were paying more for accommodation than the average.
  • The overall savings and expenses per year were calculated by multiplying the rent difference by 52 to give a final total.
  • The dataset was then organised to show the highest expenses at the top with the biggest savings at the bottom of the table.