The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Manchester among most expensive cities for first year students

Research by HSBC has revealed the most affordable student destinations


A study by HSBC has revealed the cheapest and most expensive British universities to attend.

The study looked at the 20 towns and cities in Britain with the highest student populations, and the expense of living for first year students. HSBC calculated the cost of self-catered halls, weekly food shopping, university essentials, weekly bus passes, five pints of beer and two bottles of wine.

The University of Leicester came out on top as the most affordable city for students, with the weekly cost of living totalling £196. The University of Nottingham and the University of Southampton closely followed, with the average cost of living as £207.13 and £228.50 respectively.

However, the results reveal that the most expensive cities for students are not exclusively located in the South. While London remains the most expensive city for students, Manchester and Birmingham are within the top 5 most expensive. The total cost of living for first year students in Manchester was £262.48.

Manchester’s average cost for self-catered halls averaged £131, whereas both UCL and Imperial averaged at £106 per week. The cheapest halls of residence were located in Newcastle, where on average students are expected to pay £87 per week for self-catered.

The study also looked at the cost of living for second and third year study, which decreases considerably after leaving halls of residence. For second year study Manchester came in the top ten cheapest universities, with an average cost of living decreasing from £262.48 per week to £200.98.

These results coincide with a new report which suggests that students’ maintenance loans do not adequately cover their cost of living. The report, published by The Money Charity, highlights the cost of university-owned accommodation in relation to students’ maintenance loans.

The Money Charity reveals that at 28 per cent of universities, students from the poorest backgrounds are forced to pay more than half their maintenance loan on their accommodation alone.

The report, named “Set up to fail”, calls for more clarity from the government and universities about costs of living and expected parental contributions.

Andy Mielczarek, head of retail products at HSBC said: “As students confirm their place at university, it’s important they think ahead to how much they’ll need to spend each week, both on essentials and their social life.

“For parents, explaining the financial implications of university with students is an important step. Planning early and regular saving will make the financial burden of university much easier to manage.”