Life Moments - Students & Graduates

Student Living Index 2019

Fancy some insider knowledge on student life?

Not sure what to expect from university? Or maybe you’ve not made your mind up yet on which city you’ll be living in? Our student survey reveals vital insights for student living in the UK in 2019.


Which university is right for you?

Research is essential

Reading a university prospectus and taking a quick tour of the best student cities will only give you a hint of what your student experience will be like. You need the insider knowledge, and we can help to bridge that gap with the Student Living Index. This year’s survey includes several new areas, including university mental health support and sustainability in and around campus. 


Working out the costs

Now in its sixth year, this is our biggest Student Living Index ever! We asked a record 3,604 students across 35 university cities how much they spend on food, rent, and social expenses and the results shed light on what it's really like to be a university student in 2019.


Which UK city is most affordable* for students?

Cardiff overtakes Hull (2018) to become the most cost-effective city for students.
*Affordability is calculated by dividing students’ average monthly accommodation, activities and item costs by their average monthly income.

How are students spending their money in 2019?

Who spends the most on a night out? Which students are managing to save a little each month? Find out more about student behaviour in some of the most popular university cities across the UK.


Apart from student loans, students rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad when it comes to their income. Parents are, on average, topping up student income by £222 each month. But with 43% of students saying they run out of money before the end of the semester, it’s no surprise they’ve had to find other ways to boost their income.


After paying their rent, students spend the most on their supermarket shopping, at an average of £83.50 per month. Students also spend more on shoes, clothes and accessories than they do on alcohol.


When it came to money management 42% of all students do not use any budgeting methods to help their money go further, while 6% said they don’t consider what they’re spending at all. When they do overspend, one third of students rely on an overdraft to supplement income.

Studying vs. socialising

Students are spending less time studying in 2019, but that doesn’t mean university is any less stressful. Only 10% of all UK students do not spend any money on socialising, showing how the social aspect is still a huge part of university life.

Part-time Employment

Time spent on academic studies has decreased by almost 10 hours per month since 2018, while time spent on unpaid work experience has more than tripled. The average UK student earns less from part-time employment than the money they receive from their family each month.

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing are important issues for young adults and students, and we found that 1 in 4 students are very satisfied with their university’s mental health support offering.

Promoting sustainability on campus

Young adults are more engaged than ever on issues of sustainability, so we wanted to find out how their universities compare. 1 in 5 respondents feel satisfied with their university’s commitment to promoting sustainability on campus.

Sustainability in more detail

Students in St Andrews reported the highest levels of satisfaction with 44% of students selecting on the higher end of the sustainability scale.

Durham had the lowest levels, with only 6% of students from the city feeling satisfied with on- campus sustainability promotion efforts.

Download the Student Living Index 2019

Are you currently attending university or still deciding where to go? Download the 2019 Student Living Index to find out which students are spending the most on their daily coffee, and which students are socialising the most.

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