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Cardiff least expensive major city for UK students to live, survey finds

12 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Cardiff University. Picture by Stan Zurek

Cardiff is the least expensive major city in the UK for students to live, a survey has revealed.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Student Living Index surveyed 2,964 students in 21 of the largest student cities across the nations of the UK to determine the most affordable place to study, taking into account what they spend and what they earn.

The focus only on larger cities meant that Cardiff was the only student city in Wales included in the survey, with Swansea, Bangor and Wrexham not included.

It found that Cardiff had below-average rent prices combined with higher-than-average term-time incomes compared with other major UK cities, which made it the most affordable student city, according to the survey.

Term-time income for Cardiff students averages £2,241.65 and is the fifth highest of all the cities surveyed, and they spend an average of £1,041 in total – the fourth lowest of all the cities in the Student Living Index.

It found that the Scottish capital Edinburgh was the most expensive city, and the only one in the nations of the UK where student spending outweighs their income.

The NatWest data revealed Edinburgh students have a monthly term-time income of £934, the lowest of all the cities ranked, while their total monthly spending is £949.

The survey also claimed students in the Scottish capital are the least likely to combine studying and working during the academic term.


The survey results showed Oxford is now the most expensive place for a pint in the UK, with students expecting to pay £5.50 per drink, closely followed by London with an expected cost of £4.90.

This is compared with Durham, where students can expect to pay just £3.20 for an alcoholic beverage, and Coventry, where they would expect to pay £3.40.

When it came to budgeting, the research found more than a third (35%) of students who responded found themselves running out of money by the end of term – 8% higher than in 2021.

And a quarter of recipients said they feel their universities do nothing to help with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Laura Behan, head of Royal Bank of Scotland student accounts, said: “Despite the cost of living increasing dramatically, we’ve not seen that hit students quite as hard as may have been expected this year.

“Rents were set well in advance of the academic year and inflation increased much later into the academic year.

“However, with the cost of living increasing, especially as we look towards the start of the new university year in September, it is vital that students properly manage their finances.”

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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 year ago

There is only one thing that makes me not like Cardiff…. Mr Traumatik: The world’s Most Pathetic Rapper, lives there and I see it is an indication of the poor character of the people of Cardiff that that particular young turd was allowed to reach maturity. …I’m sorry Cardiff, I love Cymru, I love the people in it, except for him. I love everyone in Cymru except for Mr Traumatik and you lot allowing him to roam the streets willy nilly ruining perfectly fine Jump Up Drum n Bass sets with his inane, bargain basement Alex Jones style, nonsense that… Read more »

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