An astonishing report in the Independent today has revealed that London is the most expensive place in the UK to get a degree, taking living costs into account. Imperial College comes in as the second priciest degree, after the Royal Academy of Music, on Marylebone Road. Oxford comes in third. Seven out of the top ten are based in London, with Oxford, Buckingham (one of the UK?s only private universities) and the Royal Agricultural College in Gloucestershire making up the other three.
Further "stating the obvious" research has found that Wales, Scotland and the North of England have the lowest costs of living for students. Bradford University students pay on average £40.51 per week for their rent, the lowest in the country. This compares to up to £156 per week for a single room in Southside halls.
Imperial have attempted to mitigate their accommodation costs by saying that they are in an expensive part of London, and that rooms cater for a variety of budgets, down to £56 for a bed in a triple room. The college also offers bursaries of up to £4,000 for students who qualify for a local authority maintenance grant. Oxford claim that their students are no worse off than others, as their students are usually only paying rent for half the year, due to the shorter terms, and that the rent includes access to many social and educational facilities, as well as cheap college bars.
It is hoped that the new cost of living index will enable students to compare the relative costs of living for each university when making their UCAS applications. However, the data is only relative, and it cannot be classed as an exact science. Furthermore, if you need to be told that London is more expensive than Bradford when you are making your university choice, maybe you should not be going to university.