60 per cent of students spend more than half of their student loans on housing
New research from Uniplaces.com, the leading online marketplace for student accommodation, has found that three in every five (60 per cent) British students will spend more than half of their student loans on a place to live while studying this year, while 17 per cent claim they will spend all of their loan on housing, plus a little extra.
The research identified that the majority of students plan to spend less than £150p/w on accommodation, and that nearly a third of freshers who plan to spend less than £100p/w are not budgeting enough for university halls fees (the UK average is £136p/w).
The Uniplaces survey found that, compared to freshers, current students will spend 10 per cent more of their loans on housing. 40 per cent of current students spend more than 75 per cent of their loans on accommodation, which leaves them with insufficient money to fund other aspects of student life, including travel, food, books, stationery, and social expenses.
The research also points out that young people studying in the South West and the North West are the most likely to spend more than their entire student loan on accommodation, compared to those studying in London, Northern Ireland and Scotland, who use the least amount of their student loan.
70% of students also claimed to spend less than £150 per week on housing while studying. This is in keeping with the UK’s average cost of private accommodation and halls of residence. Uniplaces’s additional 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 £97p/w, while the average cost of a top 20 university halls of residence is £136p/w.
However, for students studying in London, living on a “£150 or less a week” budget is almost impossible given the cost of living of the nation’s capital. The average weekly cost of London’s halls of residence is £170p/w, while private shared housing is £164p/w, leaving students with a deficit of at least £14 a week. London is also home to the most expensive student halls of residence of any of the UK’s top 20 universities.
Students based in Northern England can rest easy, as the average weekly cost of a shared private house is £62.50p/w, while halls of residence are £123p/w. University towns Sheffield and York were found to have some of the cheapest private rent per person in the country.
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 £50p/w, while halls of residence cost is at £100p/w.
Ben Grech, CEO and co-founder of Uniplaces said: “As we start a new university year, many students will be finalising where they are going to live. We’ve found through our research that 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. We also found that 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.
“Our advice to students looking for a place to live is to first set a realistic budget which balances what you can afford with the rental costs of where you are choosing to study. It is also worth remembering that halls of residence isn’t the only choice of accommodation, particularly for freshers. In the UK, less than 20 per cent of student accommodation is owned or controlled by universities and as our studies show private rental can be the more affordable option.