Living With The Costs Of The Russell Group

Haart, the U.K.’s largest independent estate agent, recently carried out a survey in order to find out the true costs of living at the country’s Russell Group universities. So, here […]


Haart, the U.K.’s largest independent estate agent, recently carried out a survey in order to find out the true costs of living at the country’s Russell Group universities. So, here at The Tab, we thought we’d give you a quick rundown of the findings, including how our beloved Southampton faired!

First things first – we should point out that this survey has its limitations. It doesn’t, for example, consider the various travel allowances available at some universities, nor does it make take into account the North-South price divide for everyday items.  What it does do, however, is look at the basic price of accommodation and beer – probably the two biggest expenditures for the average student…

House for saleIf you’re going to be living in halls, then unsurprisingly Cambridge comes out as the most expensive per week, charging a whopping £152.00, a whole £94.50 dearer than the cheapest, University Of Sheffield. In comparison, the University of Southampton came in at a competitive £98, putting them slap bang in the middle of the 24-strong Russell Group.

However, when asked to submit their figures for this survey, Cambridge pointed out that they only charge for term time which is 30 weeks of the year. This means that if the costs over an average 40 week academic year are taken into account, Cambridge are only the sixth most expensive at £4,560, while Oxford are promoted to the top spot with fees of £5,480.

Private housing figures show a slightly different trend, with Cambridge coming out as the biggest wallet basher at £97.25 a week, while Liverpool was shown to be the cheapest at a meagre £54.25. Once again, Southampton came out near the middle, in 9th place at £79.50. Five of the top seven universities where students pay the most in rent were all London based. One of the surprises of the survey, however, comes in the form of the city with the priciest halls, Oxford, being £2 per week cheaper than Southampton when it comes to private housing.

In terms of beer, one thing is clear. If you like a pint at a good price, don’t go to London; go to Cardiff, where it is, on average, £2.25 per pint. In the English capital, you will find yourself paying £3.60 per pint, a whole 30p more than we’re apparently used to paying here in Southampton. These statistics are largely irrelevant, however, because as we all know, if you go to the right places on the right nights, you can get a pint of your favourite tipple for far less than the amounts stated.

So, when taking all haart’s research into account, the cheapest university to live at if you take into account tuition fees, private rental costs and the price of a pint is… the University of Glasgow!* Its total costs of £10,920 per year, put it top of the value for money table, 15 places above Southampton at £13,988. At the other end of the scale, haart listed Cambridge came as the most expensive at £14,963 per year.

However, it is worth noting that the University of Cambridge guarantees most students college-owned accommodation for three to four years, meaning that the city’s high rental fees can, in the vast majority of cases, be disregarded. Therefore in reality, the University of Bristol is the most expensive overall at £14,755, while the University of Cambridge is the 7th most expensive.

*The University of Glasgow charges fees from £6,750 instead of the usual £9000, thus partly explaining the significant difference between its total costs and those of other universities.