Education news

Living costs 'higher than expected' for undergraduates

The cost of university living in Northern Ireland is £8,800

STUDENTS could find themselves shelling out thousands of pounds more a year in living costs depending on where they choose to take their degree.

Research by Which? University has found there are significant differences between regions in the cost of living for students.

It suggests that those who choose to attend an institution in London could pay out more than over £15,000 more over a three-year degree in rent and other items such as household bills and food compared to those at a university in Northern Ireland.

A survey of undergraduates, conducted by the website, found that two in five (40 per cent) agreed that living costs at university are higher than they expected.

Using available information on rents and living costs, Which? University calculates that yearly expenditure for a student in London is around £14,200 - making it the priciest place to study.

This was followed by the South East and the East of England, where average annual living costs are around £11,000, and Scotland where the figure is £10,600.

Northern Ireland was at the other end of the scale, where the cost of living was calculated by the website as £8,800. In Wales it is £9,500.

These figures exclude tuition fees, which will be £4,160 a year for Northern Ireland students staying at home from September. Those who go to England or Scotland will pay £9,250 a year.

A poll conducted alongside the Which? research suggests that many students are concerned about the impact studying for a degree has on their pocket, with around one in eight (13 per cent) saying that they have considered dropping out due to financial difficulties.

And nearly half (46 per cent) have asked parents or family members for extra money to manage their living costs.

Which? Said it has created a budget calculator to help students manage their finances.

Alex Hayman, Which? managing director of public markets, said: "The disparity in student living costs across the UK means students are not always able to prepare for the cost of living at university, especially if they have to change their plans at the last minute."

The YouthSight survey questioned 5,000 undergraduates at universities in Britain and Northern Ireland between March 22 and April 6.

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