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28th November 2023

Cost of living pressures mount for students as average rent increases nationally

Cost of living pressures have pushed the average student rent to £7,566, with the average maintenance loan being around £7,590
Cost of living pressures mount for students as average rent increases nationally
Credit: Ethan Wilkinson @ Unsplash

Accommodation costs are taking up nearly all of the average maintenance loan across the country, a new survey released by UniPol and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HePi), has found.

With average student rent now coming in at £7,566, and the average expected maintenance loan for the current academic year being worth around £7,590, students on loans have been found to have little money left for other living costs.

The data on average rents come from data voluntarily submitted by universities and the top student accommodation providers in the UK.

Bristol comes in as the most expensive city for student rent outside of London, with its average rent now coming in at £9,200 a year.

The survey does not include Manchester as one of the 10 cities surveyed, however, the rent of Manchester student accommodation has also increased in recent years.

Such increases have seen the Manchester Rent Strike movement continue, with occupations on campus held last academic year.

UniPol describes the situation as a “crisis point in affordability.” Research by HePi, shows that roughly 55% of students are now doing paid work, compared to 45% of students 12 months ago.

Research done by the National Union of Students puts this percentage even higher, with 69% of those surveyed undertaking part-time jobs.

On average according to the HePi, these students work 13.5 hours a week alongside their studies.

In the same survey of over 10,000 students, 76% of students admitted that the cost of living crisis has affected their studies in some way.

The HePI report urged the Government to increase maintenance loans in line with inflation, with maintenance loans increasing by 5.2% in the last two years.

Victoria Tolmie-Loverseed, the Assistant Chief Executive at UniPol, said “[w]ith rents consuming unhealthy levels of an average maintenance loan, students are being forced to take desperate measures – illegally doubling up in rooms, taking on increasing amounts of paid work or even avoiding university altogether due to costs.”

Miles Davenport

Miles Davenport

Co-Editor of News, 2023-2024, 3rd year student in History & Sociology

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