York least cost effective UK city for students

Image credit: University of York

Image credit: University of York

A recent student poll has revealed that York is the least cost-effective city for students in the UK.

The annual NatWest Student Living index, which polled 2,500 students from 25 cities across the country and takes into account rent and living expenditure against part-time earnings, placed York last in its rankings for the second year in a row.

In contrast, despite its reputation as one of the most expensive places to attend university, London was found to be the most cost-effective city in which to study, with students earning an average of £5,024.40 per year, or £167.48 per week. Tom Adamson, Head of Student banking at NatWest, attributed this result to the wider choice and availability of work in the capital, ensuring a higher wage.

He also added that while York is the least cost-effective city for students, this is partly due to the fact that undergraduates are more studious than at other institutions. The survey revealed that students at York spend an average of 26 hours a week studying, four hours more than the national average, leaving less time for part-time employment.

Meanwhile Brighton has slipped from first to 19 place this year, with average hourly wages of just £6.38.

Adamson commented on the surprising results: “Savvy students are keeping their finances in check, with London students generating an average income equivalent to approximately 7,850 tins of baked beans.”

He continued: “As well as being resourceful when it comes to taking on more part-time work, more students are working over the summer to bring in extra money rather than travelling. Taking these pro-active steps to manage their finances is enabling them to continue to enjoy university life and prepare for their future.”

The poll also revealed that money is becoming an increasingly important factor in choosing where to study. 22 per cent of students now make their university choices based on factors such as cost of living, proximity to home and local job opportunities, and approximately 1 per cent were basing their decision purely on fees rather than academic quality- up from 0.4 per cent in 2009.

It also found that 46 per cent of students will receive no financial assistance from parents this year, and the average weekly expenditure for students fell to £185, down from over £200 last year. Nonetheless, students’ financial burden is increasing with an average 4.3 per cent rise in weekly rent, totalling an extra £312 per year.

University of York students have responded with surprise to the results. Michael Rollins, a second-year student, commented: “I would never have said London was a more cost-effective city than York. I guess it is difficult to find a high paying job here as it is so small and it is definitely a disadvantage if you want to work here after you graduate, but I would say apart from that that rent prices are pretty reasonable and it is cheaper to go out here than in a lot of cities I’ve been to. I definitely don’t think this should put anyone off choosing York. It is a much nicer place to study than big impersonal cities like London and Manchester.”


  1. Half-baked, sensationalist rubbish that shows absolutely bugger all.

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  2. Interesting article, although Adamson has incurred my eternal wrath by equating student earnings to baked beans. Will someone buy that guy a time-machine so he can put it in more contemporary terms i.e 300 Jack Wills hoodies, 500 pairs of those god awful flip-flops or 400 bloody woolen bloody hats.

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  3. I would like to know which student spends £186 a week! I spend £30 on bills and life, and £65 on rent…about half of that?! :|

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  4. £30 bills, £65 rent…

    How about money for food, transport costs, clothes and then money spent on nights out?

    It adds up quickly!

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  5. 22 Aug ’10 at 12:41 pm

    The Anonymoose

    I think “life” may cover food, transport and clothing.

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  6. Spending money on transport and clothing is optional, supposing you can walk and have enough clothes in the first place. But £30 on bills and food? That’s only possible if a) you are anorexic, b) you can survive on beans and pasta for three years.

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  7. @ Matt, I spend £15 on food (i’m a vegetarian) and £15 on bills. I lose about a stone a term. I only get bought clothes on birthdays/christmases/if my mum wants to! It’s more than possible if you’re smart about it.

    And I walk everywhere…

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  8. @anon, losing a stone a term is probably not a healthy means of living (especially given that the stone lost is due to a lack of food, not neccessarily the right food). That’s not a good example to set/brag about.

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  9. i’m not bragging about it. it’s not healthy, i was simply stating that it is possible to live off of £15 food a week and to live on it. i re-gain weight in holidays so i’m not constantly decreasing until my eventual death!

    and to be honest on £15 a week you can’t afford to buy chocolate, cheese, crisps, milk, or even bread. you have to be mega smart with each quid to get what your body needs, it’d be easy for me to spend £15 on junk but after 3 weeks i’d be really ill. i don’t eat dry pasta as it makes me ill. i usually eat raw veg and fruit with hummus, tins of soup & peas, 51p packs of crackers, and i do buy cereal too for snacking on when i’m working. so i’m eating ‘right’ in terms of my 5 a day and cutting out the crap.

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  10. 23 Aug ’10 at 2:32 pm

    Jesus Christ on a Stick

    Sounds like you have a serious problem with food. Talk to a Doctor ffs.

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  11. 13 Sep ’10 at 3:44 pm

    Anonymous Scrounge

    Actually feeding yourself off 15 quid a week is pretty easy; I do it all the time. Just make friends with a load of girls who offer to cook for you all the time… Easy.

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