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These are the cheapest cities for UK students to live in


Survey names best places in the United Kingdom for students on a tight budget

Cardiff has topped the NatWest Student Living Index 2022 list of the five most affordable UK cities for students.

It beat Sheffield to the top spot, with the 2021 winner coming in joint third with Southampton and Coventry. Cambridge was found to be the second most affordable city for students.

At the other end of the scale, Edinburgh was the most expensive city for students, followed by Glasgow and Leeds. Edinburgh was the only city in the index where students spent more than their income, with an income of £934 and outgoings of £949 each month, and was the city where students were least likely to get a term-time job.

Affordability was calculated by taking average monthly living and accommodation costs and dividing by monthly income.

In Cardiff, students had an average term-time monthly income of £2,241 and they spent £1,041. Students in London were the most likely to rely on their parents or other family for term-time cash, taking £630 per month—88 per cent higher than the UK average of £334.

Students in Sheffield were the most likely to say they relied on term-time work to support their income, getting £224 from in-term work. Those in Edinburgh are least likely to rely on cash earnt during the academic term, taking just £52.

Almost 3,000 students took part in the NatWest survey between 27 June and 11 July.

The ten most affordable cities are:

  • Cardiff
  • Cambridge
  • Southampton
  • Sheffield
  • Coventry
  • York
  • Durham
  • Oxford
  • Bristol
  • Birmingham