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The most affordable UK cities for university students

Doncaster, a city in South Yorkshire, is the most affordable city for students in the UK.

Image: — © Digital Journal
Image: — © Digital Journal

Doncaster takes to spot as the most affordable city for students in the UK. The City of Doncaster is a metropolitan borough with city status in South Yorkshire, England.

Burnley and Southend-on-Sea follow closely behind with affordable living options for students, with Burnley associated low rent and grocery costs (and technically a town rather than a city), and Southend-on-Sea, a less glamorous locale, providing affordable transport and utility costs. Southend isn’t actually ‘on the sea’; the city overlooks the last part of the River Thames before it meets the North Sea.

In contrast, London and Bedford are the least affordable cities for students to live in due to the overall high cost of living.

Designed to help students navigate the financial landscape, the data comes from the company Deskup. The study considered factors such as monthly expenditure on rent, going out, and alcohol, as well as average spending on transport, groceries, and other essentials.

In all, this study identified thirteen factors indicating which UK ‘city’ (and the odd town) is the most affordable for university students. Each of these factors was given a numerical score to rank each city. The data for each city was scaled, weighted, and totalled to produce the final ranking for this study. The impact of each factor was assessed, and a different numerical weight was assigned accordingly to determine which cities are the most affordable for university students.

The factors, along with their respective weights, were: :

1.            Rent per Month – Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 13%

2.            Transportation – Monthly Pass (Regular Price) – 13%

3.            Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 13%

4.            Average Monthly Cost for Groceries – 13%

5.            Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water) for 915 sq ft Apartment – 13%

6.            Average Monthly Cost on Coffee – Cappuccino (regular) – 9%

7.            McMeal at McDonalds Two times a week for 4 weeks – 8%

8.            Domestic Beer – Monthly (4 pack of beer for every weekend) – 5%

9.            Fitness Club monthly pass – 5%

10.         Number of Parks in each city – 2%

11.         Cinema Ticket (1 seat – once a month) – 2%

12.         Tours under 20 pounds – 2%

13.         Co-Working spaces – 2%

Of course not every student will engage with or require every factor and therefore the factors for affordability are somewhat relative.

In terms of the top three:

Doncaster (Total Score: 75.20)

Doncaster, a city in South Yorkshire, is the most affordable city for students in the UK, with a total living cost of £802.6 including rent, bills, and groceries. Doncaster boasts the cheapest monthly transportation pass and is fifth for rent cists (average £525 per month).

Burnley (Total Score: 73.62)

Burnley secures the runner-up spot for the most affordable UK locale for university students. While rent costs place it seventh (£565 monthly), and transport passes rank ninth (£51.2), Burnley boasts even cheaper internet than Doncaster at around £30 a month.

Southend-on-Sea (Total Score: 71.41)

Southend-on-Sea takes third place for affordability, with apartment essentials costing £854.5 on average. Monthly transport passes (£35) and utility bills (electricity and water at £127.5) add to its student-friendly budget.

In fourth place is Scunthorpe, followed by Kingston upon Hull, Darlington, Blackpool, Bury, Cheltenham and Eastbourne.

The ranking proves a tool for prospective students, helping them identify where in the UK their student loan will go the furthest.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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