Cambridge ranked second most affordable UK city for students

A NatWest Survey places Cambridge second for affordability while Oxford finds itself fourth

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The annual NatWest Student Living Index, which ranks UK cities for student affordability, has ranked Cambridge in second place.

The index, which calculates affordability by “dividing students’ average monthly accommodation, activities and item costs by their average monthly income,” named Sheffield the most affordable city for students, while Glasgow ranked third, and Oxford fourth.

The survey took place over a two week period in June speaking to 2337 UK-based University students, and not only asked students about income and expenditure but also about student wellbeing and the impact of the pandemic.

According to the research, Cambridge students have the highest term-time incomes in the country, earning an average of £1340 per term. While this income overall comes from a combination of student loans, family savings and both holiday and term-time employment, Cambridge students continue to rely on the contributions from bursaries/scholarships more than any other university city.

On the other hand, Cambridge is the most expensive UK city outside of London for renting students, with an average monthly rent of £578.70. Average student rents have increased nationally by 18.5 per cent since 2020.

One Cambridge student responded to the city’s ranking, “I was so surprised to hear this, my impression of Cambridge is that it’s expensive in comparison to other unis. We’re so lucky to be supported financially by the colleges and uni, but it comes with the downside of having limited accommodation and catering choices.”

Cambridge also ranked first nationally for students who felt sufficiently supported during the Covid-19 pandemic, although nationally there was an 11 per cent drop in students who felt adequately supported during the pandemic since 2020.

Cambridge students were also “noticeably more pleased than others” with the value of online teaching and were also, along with Oxford students, most likely to have been offered a rent break as a result of the crisis.

Feature Image Credit: Matilda Head