Student Living Index 2015 - UK University Costs - NatWest


Student Living Index 2015

See what students across the UK are spending

Belfast comes top of the NatWest Student Living Index 2015, followed by Southampton and Nottingham.

See what students are spending in the UK

We know cash can be a rare commodity when you're a student, so, in partnership with an independent research company, we've produced the Student Living Index to show students which cities they can see their money go further. We took a sample of 2486 students to give you an idea of how much students spend in the UK on things like travel, eating out and food shopping in each city compared with last year. You can also find out how much time they're dedicating to part-time work and studying.

To give our students a hand when they get there, our Student Account comes with a free National Express Young Persons Coachcard, which gives a third off UK and international coach travel. Or why not take a look at the other student products that we offer?

You can also see the results of the 2014 NatWest Student Living Index.

Headlines from the 2015 Student Living Index

Belfast has come top of the list of university cities in the 2015 Student Living Index, followed by Southampton and Nottingham.

Over two-fifths of students do not have a term-time job and most rely on their Student Loan as their main source of income

The main motivation for students with part-time jobs is to help pay their way through university. Parents are the second highest source of income for students.

The majority of a student's time is spent studying; 27.5 hours a week compared to 12.5 hours socialising and 4.5 hours in part-time work.

Cambridge and Oxford students spend most of their time studying, whereas Southampton receives the most term-time income and works the longest hours.


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City Ranking
Southampton 2nd
Nottingham 3rd
Edinburgh 4th
Manchester 5th
Dundee 6th
Sheffield 7th
Reading 8th
Glasgow 9th
London 10th
Plymouth 11th
York 12th
Liverpool 13th
Portsmouth 14th
Norwich 15th
Brighton 16th
Leicester 17th
Bristol 18th
Newcastle 19th
Cardiff 20th
Exeter 21st
Birmingham 22nd
Leeds 23rd
Oxford 25th
By region

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Out of the top 10 cities, three are in the South, two are in the North and one is in the Midlands.

Southampton performs best in the index of cities in England - students are earning the most term-time income and working the longest number of hours.

London is in the top 10 despite coming high in the list of expenditures on essentials such as travel and rent.

Cambridge students are spending the most on sport and fitness, spending the most on cricket and gymnastics.

Birmingham spends the most on fashion whilst Oxford spends the most on socialising in general.


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Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow all feature in the top 10 in the Student Living Index this year.

Students in Dundee come in the top five for highest expenditure in a number of categories, such as sports & fitness. Glasgow spend the second highest amount on fashion, whereas Edinburgh spends a lot less in this category.


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Cardiff is the only Welsh city in the NatWest Student Living Index, coming 20th overall after climbing 5 places since last year. Cardiff students lead the way in spending on hockey, and also feature in the top 5 for Rugby Union.


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Belfast is the only city in Northern Ireland in the NatWest Student Living Index, which has come top of the charts, making it the most affordable city to live in the UK for students.

This was due to a combination of low average rent and strong income from term-time jobs.

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