Cambridge Costs

Catherine Watts 25 October 2007

Cambridge is one of the most expensive places for students to live in the region, a survey has revealed.

The investigation into student living costs discovered that some universities are twice as costly to attend than others by assessing three indicators: student housing, groceries and drinks.

The study was carried out by Push, an organisation which annually visits every university in the country gathering information to form the UK’s largest resource for prospective students.

For the groceries, Push worked alongside Costcutter to make a basket of goods representing the best-selling items in outlets close to universities. This included King Size Rizla, condoms, Pot Noodle, cigarettes, beer , ProPlus, HobNobs and cheese. Prices were compared in different areas to gather the data on living costs.

The difference between the lowest and highest price indices was vast.

The University of Bradford was the cheapest at 73 percent of the national average (which was given the number 100 on the index), whilst the Royal Academy of Music had an index of 168.

Universities accommodating a higher number of privately-educated students were found to have a greater living cost.

Cambridge University, with an index score of 114, was one of the institutions that were significantly more expensive to attend than others in the same region.

This was also the case for Oxford, UCL, St. Andrews, Durham, Imperial, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Agricultural College.

At all these institutions, privately-educated students make up more than a third of the student body. The NUS Vice President – and former CUSU President Wes Streeting, said that this correlation between publicly-schooled students and higher university living prices was “no coincidence”.

He added: “This survey shows how students from poorer backgrounds may already be ‘priced out’ of attending certain universities.

“If the Government were to allow these universities to set even higher top-up fees, potential students from lower socio-economic backgrounds could find their choices severely restricted by a rising tide of economic elitism.”

Catherine Watts