Blast from the past: cost of student living dramatically higher than 20 years ago

Rent was £32 and pints were just more than a quid. Students 20 years ago had it easy when uni was free…


The cost of renting a student house was as little as £32 a week twenty years ago.

Joanne O’Connell, a former student at Lancaster University, dug up all her old bills, and was shocked at the rising cost in student living.

Back then, when Gazza was dribbling around defenders rather than on his shirt collar, undergraduate life was simple. There were no expensive laptops, mobile phones, kindles, (electronic) tablets, broadband bills or even televisions to worry about.

The average pint was a mere £1.35, which would be difficult to match even in a cheap union today, and a pint of milk for the recovery bowl of cereal the next day was 34p.

TV licenses were £83 instead of the £145.50 they are now and your biggest worry, especially in the arctic north, was to stop yourself from freezing to death without turning on a radiator.

The price of a pint has risen dramatically in 20 years

The price of a pint has risen dramatically in 20 years

There is one anomaly – the archaic land line is getting cheaper and, bizarrely, the price of goldfish has remained static. Riddle me that one Keynes.

Obviously the biggest difference was the fact that until 1998 you didn’t even have to pay to go to uni – the powers that be thought it was some sort of beneficial educational experience that earnest, burgeoning young leaders of tomorrow needn’t fork out for. Odd.

Despite their free-ride on the educational superhighway, the class of ’93 weren’t rolling in it either. An engineering student at the University of London would have got a measly £830 to live off from Her Majesty’s Government, compared to £7,675 maintenance loan/grant plus bursaries nowadays.

If you’ve got the time and patience to ask an economist, they’ll basically tell you it’s all just relative. We generally have more stuff we can spend our cash on and in general we seem to get given more money to spend said cash on said stuff. Woopeee.

Graduates will finish uni

Graduates will finish uni with more than £27,000 of debt…

The only fly in this fairly comforting, if anti-climactic, ointment is the fact that we’re all going to come out with a minimum of £27,000 debt, crippling us all with financial ruin.

Who cares? According to a study by Vanilla Research, we don’t give a monkeys about that anyway.

And if that sort of thing does bother you, just chuck your mortar-board and emigrate.