Thousands of students will find out whether their A Level results are up to scratch for their desired uni place tomorrow. But even if everything goes to plan, there could be a nasty shock around the corner – rent’s on the up.
Mere hours from now students around the country will be ripping open their A Level results and nervously poring over their grades. There’ll be roars of sheer joy and yelps of disappointment – so here’s a pre-emptive congratulations to those who did well and commiserations to those who didn’t.
Of course, some already know their grades due to a premature leak by the exam board. So many will already be filling out their clearing process forms for the few remaining places.
Student rent going up
The National Union of Students predicts that the average cost of living and studying for a fresher outside London is around £16,000 (per year). It’s a hefty bill, and although fees will take up the bulk (especially when they go up next year) one the biggest investments for a student is their accommodation.
That increase isn’t too shocking, but the numbers aren’t so sedate when you have a gander at particular places. You’ll find Leamington Spa (handy for Warwick Uni), Newcastle-under-Lyme and Sunderland at the top of the movers and shakers. Rent in these places has gone up by 16% for the first, and 13% for the latter two.
Unsurprisingly, the most expensive place for students is still London, where they’ll have to find £108 a week, with Exeter in second place at £95.
Study closer to home?
As if students didn’t have enough to worry about – they now have to keep an eye on how rental markets are developing. AFS.com thinks these increases are down to better quality digs and universities in these particular locations becoming more popular. In short, greater demand equals higher rent.
So should you turn down your favoured uni for a city that’s cheaper to live in (like Middlesbrough at just £44)? I don’t think so. Make sure you work out how you’re going to afford it (through loans, grants, overdrafts etc.) but certainly don’t turn down your dream uni.
Not everyone agrees with me. Loads of students are now choosing unis closer to home. More than 310,000 students opted to study at local unis while living at home – that’s 19% of all undergraduates (compared to just 8% in 1984). Plus, this is expected to rise to 47% of students over the next decade.
Personally, I think it’s a shame that students have to resort to being stay-at-homers. Isn’t a large proportion of the uni experience about moving out, ripping yourself away from your parents and jumping head-first into uni life?
I studied at Nottingham uni – a good six-hour train journey from my home town. And although I had an offer closer to home, I’m sure I would have felt a little bit depressed having to return to the family house every night (no offence mum!). You quite simply need your own pad.
Luckily my rent was less than £60 per week throughout, and dropped to a tasty £45 (including bills) for my third year – I can thank a savvy uni mate for that! But times don’t appear so blasé for students anymore – everything seems so serious and grown-up.
There’s no way I would have turned down my dream uni due to high rent, but maybe you’re more mature than me…?