• Welsh students spending the most on alcohol
  • Scottish students have both the UK’s highest and lowest term time incomes
  • Students in Durham and Oxford receive the most money from parents
  • Oxbridge students spend more than double the time studying than London students

Cardiff is the most affordable place for students to study in the UK, closely followed by Aberdeen and Durham according to the NatWest Student Living Index.

Students in Cardiff, Aberdeen and Durham are amongst the highest term time earners. However their main source of income is quite different. Students in Cardiff receive the majority of their income from part-time work and it’s similar in Aberdeen, but in Durham students receive most of their income from their mum and dad. Hull is at the other end of the scale with students receiving the least from their mum and dad and the most from bursaries or scholarships.

The NatWest Student Living Index surveyed almost 3,500 students across the country to determine the most affordable place to study. The survey takes into account a range of factors, from how much students spend on essentials such as food, rent and bills, to how much time they spend studying, working and socialising.

Students at Oxford and Cambridge spend the most hours studying, 124hrs and 138hrs each term. This is well above the national average of 91 hours and more than double the number of hours students in London (62hrs) spend studying. On average students spend three times more time studying than they do socialising. The research also found that the more students socialise the more they enjoy studying.

Reading students spend the most time socialising (38.6hrs) and Aberystwyth students spend the most on alcohol (£50.87 a month) compared to a national average of £38.61.

Scottish universities have both the highest and lowest monthly student incomes. Students in Aberdeen also have the highest overall term-time income when taking into account all sources of money such as mum and dad and personal savings, £1583.80 per month, which is £440 more than the national student average. Glasgow has the lowest total income at under half that, £786.60 a month.

Dan Jones, NatWest Head of Student Accounts said, “The Student Living Index helps students to see how they might budget while at University. Our main priority is to help students stay on top of their finances throughout their studies and our Student Account offers a number of features to help students make the most of their money and their time while at University.”

The NatWest Student account offers a free National Express Coachcard to cut the cost of travel, an interest free overdraft of up to £2000 and the market leading mobile banking app to help students better manage their finances on the move. Uniquely it is the only Student Account to offer GetCash, which can be used in emergencies to withdraw money without a bankcard. It works by using the mobile banking app to request a code which can be used to withdraw money at any Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest or Tesco cash machine. NatWest also offers free Financial Health checks which help students to organise their finances in the most efficient and effective way.

Find out more at www.natwest.com/students

City Ranking 18th Oxford
1st Cardiff 19th Edinburgh
2nd Aberdeen 20th Cambridge
3rd Durham 21st Southampton
4th Canterbury 22nd Plymouth
5th Swansea 23rd Nottingham
6th Manchester 24th Liverpool
7th Reading 25th Exeter
8th Leicester 26th Norwich
9th York 27th Brighton
10th Sheffield 28th Belfast
11th Leeds 29th Dundee
12th Hull 30th Stirling
13th Portsmouth 31st Bristol
14th Poole 32nd Aberystwyth
15th Coventry 33rd St. Andrews
16th Birmingham 34th London
17th Newcastle 35th Glasgow


NatWest’s Student Living Index covers 35 university cities and towns, looking at the spending habits and the cost of living for students across the UK and uses the information to determine the most affordable city for students to live in.

Audience: n=3,407 University Students Living in the UK
Survey period: 12th May to 2nd June 2017. Respondents were given a small incentive to take part in an online survey. The survey was unbranded for all respondents.
Panel Provider: YouthSight: Experts in student and young professionals research
The survey was unbranded for all participants.

Available for interview: Dan Jones, NatWest Head of Student Account is available for interviews. For broadcast interviews Dan will be available via ISDN line on Wednesday 19th July. We can also provide audio clips of Dan talking about the Student Living Index. Advance interviews may also be possible.

The full Student Living Index and infographics available on request.