Cost of private London student halls reaches 150 per cent of maximum maintenance loan

The annual cost of private halls is forecast to reach almost £20,000 in the coming academic year

New data shows that some London students can expect to pay one and a half times their maintenance loan on housing alone.

The cost of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is projected to reach £19,706 for the 2023-24 academic year, while maintenance loans for English students living in London are capped at £13,022.

The same report also found the average cost of studying in London had increased by 20 per cent since the previous year, reaching £395 per week in May 2023.

PBSA describes privately owned student halls, which are increasingly common in UK university towns.

The latest cost figures were published by consultancy PwC based on an analysis of StudentCrowd data – a reviewing website for students. Karen Best, head of education lead advisory at the firm, commented on the analysis: “It’s clear the challenges felt by students and universities across the UK are more pronounced in London, where the rental pressures are likely to be felt to a greater extent.”

The cost of renting private student accommodation in London far exceeds the rest of the country, which averages £10,227 annually – a difference of over £9,000. Despite these substantially lower accommodation costs in other parts of the country, maintenance loans still fail to cover the cost of renting for those outside the capital wishing to live in private student housing.

Although the maximum maintenance loan amount rises each year, these increases trail behind inflation, resulting in an estimated seven per cent cut in real terms during the 2022-23 academic year and a projected four per cent reduction in 2023-24.

PBSAs are seen by some as a solution to a lack of student housing, providing hundreds of new flats in a single site.

However, the substantial cost of renting in these private halls suggests they may not be a foolproof solution.

With this latest data showing the cost of living in PBSAs far outpacing maintenance loans, renting in private halls may instead be a luxury reserved for students from privileged backgrounds.

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