The UK’s Most Affordable University Towns

The cash-strapped party-goer is an image that’s followed students around for decades, but could their pennilessness have more to do with where they’re studying? Our research suggests it might.

We’ve taken the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and ranked their top 50 universities in order: from most affordable, to least. The research looks at the weekly rent of university halls, cinema ticket price, monthly gym membership cost, cappuccino cost, meal cost, the price of a pint at Wetherspoon, the cost of a doner kebab, and the price of a cab from the town centre to the university.

Look at our infographic and see which university town puts the most “earning” in “learning”.

Infographic showing the best University Towns

The five most affordable university towns

1. University of Warwick

The University of Warwick takes first place, with a weekly university hall rent of £72. It also has the second cheapest kebab cost at £3.99. You can’t help but call into question the quality of such a cheap kebab, but does this really matter on a night out?

2. University of East Anglia

While the weekly rent at the University of East Anglia is the lowest overall at £54, the UEA has higher costs elsewhere, pushing it down to second place. A pint only sets you back a not-too-shabby £2.75, though.

3. Swansea University

If you’re the kind of person who puts the “stud” in “studying”, head to Swansea University, which takes third place. Gym memberships cost just £20, and pints are only £2.19, ready for you to undo all your hard work.

4. University of Bath

Although the University of Bath has relatively low housing and cinema costs (£70 and £10 respectively), it’s higher prices elsewhere means it takes fourth place overall. While meals out and cabs home cost more, students will be relieved to know the price of pints remains stable, at £2.29.

5. Keele University

Students looking for more beer for their buck should head to Keele and pay a paltry £1.99. That’s five pints for a tenner, with change to spare. Enough to make you Keele over. University hall rents are just £85 per week and, while no means the cheapest, are still nearly half the price London’s Royal Holloway.

London’s least affordable universities

To no surprise, the best London universities ranked bottom for affordability. While many students studying in London are eligible for higher maintenance loans and grants, this doesn’t seem to have done much to offset the extra costs of living.

In fact, all seven London universities surveyed ranked in the bottom eight. London’s Royal Holloway came last, due to a high £169 weekly rent and a cab ride home of £43. Following closely behind was King’s College London, with a similar weekly rent of £150 — albeit a much cheaper journey home at £5.50.

Perhaps most detrimental to a student’s happy life is coughing up £3.85 per pint for attending the London School of Economics and Political Science, SOAS University of London, and King’s College London.

At that price, your bank balance is more likely to be slaughtered than you are.