It’s official: Edinburgh is the most expensive city for students to live

Edi students are also the least likely to work part-time during term

According to a new report, Edinburgh is the most expensive UK city for students to live in.

The NatWest Student Living Index finds that the Scottish capital is the only city where student spending exceeds their income.

The average student income in Edinburgh, including student loans and financial help from family, is £934 per month, while monthly spending is £949, including rent, bills, groceries and socialising.

Despite high costs, Edinburgh’s students are also the least likely to work part-time during their studies.

Other cities with high living costs are Glasgow, Leeds and Canterbury, with Cardiff students having the lowest cost of living due to a combination of high incomes and low spending costs.

The figures sit alongside data that show 37 per cent of students at Edinburgh attended private schools, compared to a national average of just seven per cent. Therefore, students’ experiences of cost of living pressures are expected to be significantly varied in the coming months.

Even though student loans make up 49 per cent of students’ monthly income nationally, this is less in Scotland, as Scottish students benefit from free university tuition.

The report also finds that Edinburgh students expect to spend an average of £25.90 on a night out, compared to a low of £20.60 in Durham and the highest cost of £34.40 in Liverpool.

It comes as the UK and Scottish governments are under pressure to provide more support for those struggling with the cost of living amid soaring energy bills and grocery prices. Tory leadership contender Liz Truss was criticised on Friday for saying oil and gas company profits should not be considered “evil”.

Truss or her rival Rishi Sunak are expected to announce further proposals in the autumn to assist with living costs if elected as prime minister by grassroots Tory members.

Commenting on the report, Laura Behan, Head of NatWest Student Accounts, said: “Despite the cost of living increasing dramatically, we’ve not seen that hit students quite as hard as may have been expected this year.

“Rents were set well in advance of the academic year and inflation increased much later into the academic year. However, with the cost of living increasing, especially as we look towards the start of the new university year in September, it is vital that students properly manage their finances.

“We offer a range of tools to help, including spend categorisation in our mobile app so students can see exactly where their money is going every month and a Round Ups tool to help develop a strong savings habit.”

A spokesperson for the University stated: “The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top universities, globally recognised for our research, development and innovation, and Edinburgh is regularly rated as one of the best cities in the world for students.

“Increases in the cost of living affect everyone and we want to support our students as much as possible throughout an increasingly challenging period. We offer the best financial aid package for undergraduate students in the UK, and spend millions of pounds every year to help students who want to study at Edinburgh.

“We provide our students with a range of financial and wellbeing support, and any students who are experiencing financial difficulties are able to access our hardship funding schemes.

“To protect students from rising bills, we have chosen to not increase prices for our accommodation since rent levels were agreed in November 2021 and the University has absorbed recent additional costs. Our students pay a standard rent that includes all utilities.”

More information about the University’s financial support, hardship funding and wellbeing services is available on the university’s website: 

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