With tuition fees having increased to £9000 for home students and £12,000 pounds for international students, more of us are having to look for university cities that provide a cheaper alternative to London, Oxford and Cambridge, where the cost of living is unaffordable for most students. To help you get a good education without having to count every penny, here’s a list of the UK's 10 cheapest university cities:10. Cardiff- Home to The University of Cardiff, this city has an average weekly rent of £84, which is likely to remain stagnant. Public transport isn’t expensive but most students either walk or cycle. Interestingly, even though Cardiff is the capital of Wales, the cost of living is lower than most capital cities.
9. Lincoln – Lincoln has a mix of pubs, bars and clubs and cultural attractions. The average weekly rent is £84, which is likely to remain the same. The two best universities in this city are University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University.
8. Durham - According to a recent article in The Independent, Durham has the best quality of student life in the UK. Students not only have a thriving social life in the collegiate setup, but enjoy a graduate employment rate of 92% according to Lloyds Bank University Quality of Life Survey. With an average weekly rent of £82, which is likely to stay put, Durham is the next best alternative for those with their eyes on Oxford or Cambridge. By comparison rent in Oxford and Cambridge is £111 per week and £115 per week respectively.
7. Liverpool - The demand for accommodation in this city is rising fast. The average weekly rent inclusive of bills is £81 %, but it’s steadily rising at the quarterly rate of 2.47%. Liverpool is a friendly and inexpensive place to live for students with an abundance of part time jobs. What’s more, the two main universities, University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, both have campuses in the city centre.
6. Nottingham - Host to the University of Nottingham, this city’s average weekly rent is £81, but it’s fast rising at the quarterly rate of 1.27%. The city’s perks are its vibrant nightlife and good shopping. Buses is Nottingham are reasonably priced, making it easy for students to move around and explore the city.
5. Sheffield - The average weekly rent is a reasonable £80, which is likely to remain the same. Sheffield is known for its hot music scene and is a very popular destination for students. Students live all over the city and benefit from efficient transport links to get around. In fact, a bus costs a mere 80p on the route that serves both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.
4. Leeds - Owing to surplus accommodation, rent in Leeds is generally low - the average weekly rent inclusive of bills is £80, which is decreasing quarterly at the rate of -1.25 %. The cost of living in the city is also low and the taxis are some of the cheapest in the country. In fact, if you’re in a group of two or more, it’s often cheaper to get a cab and split the cost than pay a bus fare each!
3. Swansea - In the top three the average weekly rent in Swansea is £79, which is likely to remain stagnant. The city has an abundance of art, shopping and clubbing opportunities, making it a lively place to live. Swansea University is roughly three miles of the city centre.
2. Leicester - Next up is Leicester with an average weekly rent including bills of £79, which is decreasing at the rate of -1.27%. Both De Montfort University and University of Leicester are located within one mile of the city centre. What’s more, its location in the East Midlands means Leicester is accessible to most UK regions if you don’t want to move too far from home for your degree. And did we mention the largest fresh food market in Europe is in Leicester? Food is cheap, meaning a tight budget will go far.
1. Belfast – The cheapest university city for students. Average weekly rent inclusive of bills as of March 2014 for a double room is £69. What’s more, rent is actually decreasing at the rate of -1.45 % quarterly, meaning rooms will be even cheaper in the future. Belfast’s Queen University campus is located within the ‘Golden Mile’, making it just a stone’s throw away from the city’s bars, clubs, restaurants and pubs – ask for part-time job opportunities in one of these if you’d like more cash.
Written by Ashana Beria