After tuition fees, one of the biggest university cost factors is where you choose to live. While university accommodation can sometimes be more affordable than private renting, it’s often only an option for your first year. So when you’re applying, it pays to think long-term, and see how much you could save by studying in a city with lower rents.
Study at Cardiff, and privately rented housing could cost around £2,880 a year , while London’s UCL weighs in at up to £6,624 – more than twice as much. Research student rentals online to get a sense of how much students are paying in your city of choice – but factor in increases as your course progresses. In 2013, the National Union of Students reported an average increase in rent of 25% over 3 years (PDF).
Even within cities, accommodation costs can vary significantly, so bear in mind the additional travel costs you might end up with if you’re chasing cheaper rent by living further away from campus. It’s not always worth it if, in practice, you end up spending the difference on bus tickets.