University isn’t cheap, but it’s not just about rising tuition fees. Outgoings for accommodation, transport, hobbies and socialising soon mount up. How much money do students need to get by on these days?
Unsurprisingly, the amount a student will need to live on depends on where you choose to study.
According to the Which? student budget calculator, it ranges from £8,800 a year for those in Northern Ireland to a staggering £14,200 a year for those in London, on average.
These regional variances will no doubt have an impact on uni choice. Back when I was a student, well over 10 years ago, I made the decision to rule out London universities based on finance alone.
I couldn’t even consider the possibility. Even with the maximum maintenance loan and earnings from my part time job I found myself right in the depths of my overdraft – and that was up north!
Student life is tough. I have fond memories of walking for an hour uphill in the Yorkshire rain to avoid a £1.50 bus fare back to my halls, withdrawing a tenner from a cash machine and making it last a week and buying five kilos of pasta in bulk when my student loan came in!
Implications for students
Students and parents alike are under huge financial pressure whilst going through university. A recent Which? survey found that 1 in 10 students admit they had considered dropping out of university due to financial difficulties.
20% of students also admitted using their overdrafts to cover the cost of living at university, whilst 10% confessed to having to rely on credit cards. 46% of students had asked family for extra money to manage their living costs whilst at university.
As we all should know by now, one of the best ways to manage costs is to plan ahead; work out your budget in advance and stick to it. One student I spoke to said she manages student life in London by living off a strict £5 a day budget, as well as saving beforehand and working during the holidays.
The Which? University student budget calculator gives students and parents a rough idea of what it costs to live as a student at different universities.
Sticking to budgets, on the other hand, may prove a bit tricky. You never know what you’re likely to buy when you’re 18 years old and drunk at 2am – I’ve heard stories of students buying life size cardboard cutouts of Gordon Ramsey off eBay!
How did you manage costs when you were at university? Would you have liked a bit more help with your budgeting? Take our quiz below and let us know how you get on.