Leicester named cheapest student city by HSBC

Aug 22, 2014   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Latest Product Updates, Money Saving Tips  //  Comments Off on Leicester named cheapest student city by HSBC

University of Leicester Ken Edwards Building

It’s not often that we (or anyone else, for that matter) get to revel about being based in Leicester. But the city has come up trumps after being named as the most affordable destination for undergraduate students.

HSBC has found that students based in Leicester enjoy the cheapest surroundings, thanks largely to some of the cheapest university and private sector accommodation in the UK.

The bank’s research tots up the cost of living in the twenty towns and cities in the UK with the largest student populations.

It found that Leicester, Nottingham, Liverpool and Cardiff were among the most affordable cities for students to live. Unsurprisingly, London proved the most expensive destination for students, followed by Oxford and Brighton.

First-year students in Leicester are expected to shell out just £196 per week – a total which includes accommodation, weekly essentials, transport, and, yes… alcohol. (If there’s one thing we’ve been learning about Leicester recently, it’s that a generous alcohol allowance is required.)

It’s the only city in the survey where first-year students are expected to spend an average of less than £200 a week. By contrast, students at London universities, including UCL and Imperial, are expected to fork out over £315 a week.

The Secret Life of Students (C4) shadowed new students at Leicester to gain insight into student lifestyles.

The Secret Life of Students (C4) shadowed new students at Leicester to gain a glimpse of student lifestyles.

Costs are even lower for Leicester students in subsequent years, as the cost of student housing proves to be among the most affordable in the UK at just £64 per person per week. Only Cardiff manages to beat this, at £61 per week.

Overall, Leicester still tops the table for second/third-year students, at £169 per week, but other cities with affordable student housing become more competitive.

One thing we can say is that it’s certainly not a simple North/South divide. Among the more expensive university cities are Manchester and Birmingham, while Southampton and Bristol are among the cheaper destinations.

Newcastle has the cheapest halls of residence, with an average weekly cost of just £87. But head further North to Glasgow, and later-year students face costs of £88 a week for student housing – a figure surpassed only by London (£144), Cambridge (£118) and Brighton (£95).

All in all, there’s quite a lot to factor in. Check out the tables below for the full details.

 HSBC Student Costs Table Year 1 HSBC Student Costs Table Year 2

Sober = Cheaper

The news is even better for Leicester students who aren’t so fond of a drink.

The (slightly crude) cost of living figures include five pints and two bottles of wine, which comes to £29.25 per week in Leicester, making it one of the most expensive cities for alcohol.

Take off the £29 per week allocated to booze, and Leicester stretches its lead as the cheapest university city by some distance.

A few years ago, we were bemoaning the fact that Leicester patrons were less likely to turn to price comparison sites than any other major city.

It’s a welcome step in the right direction to know that the city itself constitutes one of the best money-saving opportunties for thousands of young people.

Andy Mielczarek, head of retail products at HSBC, offered the following advice to students.

It’s important they think ahead to how much they’ll need to spend each week, both on essentials and their social life. Keeping to a budget will pay dividends in the long run and will ensure students don’t leave with a financial hangover.

For parents, explaining the financial implications of university with students is an important step. Planning early and regular saving will make the financial burden of university much easier to manage.

What’s HSBC offering?

HSBC released its new Student Bank Account last week, which includes:

  • Up to £3,000 interest free overdraft. (Guaranteed £500 at opening.)
  • £60 Amazon Gift Certificate, plus £70 towards Kindle Fire tablets.
  • 2% interest on credit balances for the first year.
  • Mobile Banking app, with access to Paym.
  • Text alerts when you’re nearing your limits.
  • Access to fee-free credit card with £500 limit.

Make sure that you shop around for the best student account, and set yourself up well for the years ahead.

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