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Edinburgh most expensive UK city for students to live, survey suggests

Edinburgh has been revealed as the most expensive city to live in for students, according to a NatWest survey (Jane Barlow/PA)
Edinburgh has been revealed as the most expensive city to live in for students, according to a NatWest survey (Jane Barlow/PA)

Edinburgh is the most expensive place in the UK for students to live, a survey has revealed.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Student Living Index surveyed 2,964 students across the UK to determine the most affordable place to study, taking into account what they spend and what they earn.

It found the Scottish capital is the only British city where student spending outweighs their income.

Cardiff, on the other hand, topped the index as the most affordable.

The NatWest data revealed Edinburgh students have a monthly term-time income of £934, the lowest of all the cities ranked, while their total monthly spending is £949.

The survey also claimed students in the Scottish capital are the least likely to combine studying and working during the academic term.

Cardiff, however, had below-average rent prices combined with higher-than-average term-time incomes, which made it the most affordable student city, according to the survey.

Term-time income for Cardiff students averages £2,241.65 and is the fifth highest of all the cities surveyed, and they spend an average of £1,041 in total – the fourth lowest of all the cities in the Student Living Index.

The survey results showed Oxford is now the most expensive place for a pint in the UK, with students expecting to pay £5.50 per drink, closely followed by London with an expected cost of £4.90.

This compared with Durham, where students can expect to pay just £3.20 for an alcoholic beverage, and Coventry, where they would expect to pay £3.40.

When it came to budgeting, the research found more than a third (35%) of students who responded found themselves running out of money by the end of term – 8% higher than in 2021.

And a quarter of recipients said they feel their universities do nothing to help with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Laura Behan, head of Royal Bank of Scotland 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.”