Cardiff is most affordable place to study

Ancient and modern Cardiff (images:

Cardiff is the most affordable place for students to study in the UK, closely followed by Aberdeen and Durham, according to the NatWest Student Living Index.

Students in Cardiff, Aberdeen and Durham are amongst the highest term time earners. However their main source of income is quite different. Students in Cardiff receive the majority of their income from part-time work and it’s similar in Aberdeen, but in Durham students receive most of their income from their mum and dad. Hull is at the other end of the scale with students receiving the least from their mum and dad and the most from bursaries or scholarships.

The NatWest Student Living Index surveyed almost 3,500 students across the country to determine the most affordable place to study. The survey takes into account a range of factors, from how much students spend on essentials such as food, rent and bills, to how much time they spend studying, working and socialising.

Students at Oxford and Cambridge spend the most hours studying, 124hrs and 138hrs each term. This is well above the national average of 91 hours and more than double the number of hours students in London (62hrs) spend studying. On average students spend three times more time studying than they do socialising. The research also found that the more students socialise the more they enjoy studying.

Reading students spend the most time socialising (38.6hrs) and Aberystwyth students spend the most on alcohol (£50.87 a month) compared to a national average of £38.61.

Scottish universities have both the highest and lowest monthly student incomes. Students in Aberdeen also have the highest overall term-time income when taking into account all sources of money such as mum and dad and personal savings, £1583.80 per month, which is £440 more than the national student average. Glasgow has the lowest total income at under half that, £786.60 a month.

Dan Jones, NatWest Head of Student Accounts said, “The Student Living Index helps students to see how they might budget while at University. Our main priority is to help students stay on top of their finances throughout their studies and our Student Account offers a number of features to help students make the most of their money and their time while at University.”

The NatWest Student account offers a free National Express Coachcard to cut the cost of travel, an interest free overdraft of up to £2000 and the market leading mobile banking app to help students better manage their finances on the move.

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City Ranking 18th Oxford
1st Cardiff 19th Edinburgh
2nd Aberdeen 20th Cambridge
3rd Durham 21st Southampton
4th Canterbury 22nd Plymouth
5th Swansea 23rd Nottingham
6th Manchester 24th Liverpool
7th Reading 25th Exeter
8th Leicester 26th Norwich
9th York 27th Brighton
10th Sheffield 28th Belfast
11th Leeds 29th Dundee
12th Hull 30th Stirling
13th Portsmouth 31st Bristol
14th Poole 32nd Aberystwyth
15th Coventry 33rd St. Andrews
16th Birmingham 34th London
17th Newcastle 35th Glasgow


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