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.”