New research has found that the annual cost of living for Cambridge students is £20,266, placing Cambridge as the thirty-eighth most expensive university to study at in the UK. In comparison, Oxford students spend £24,760 each year, almost five thousand pounds more.
The findings were produced by the price comparison website Gocompare.com, who ranked all UK universities by cost of living for its ‘Degree of Value’ online comparison tool. In the calculations, it compared the amounts spent in nine areas: tuition, accommodation, socialising, laundry, food, books, gym, travel and clothes.
Predictably, the universities ranked as the top five most expensive were all London-based. The presence of the North-South divide was also evident in the composition of the twenty most expensive universities, only one of which (Leeds Beckett) is situated in the North. Regent’s University topped the list with a sizeable £38,854 cost of living, whereas the least expensive university was found to be Abertay University in Dundee, which costs students £15,880 per year.
Meanwhile, students at Anglia Ruskin University have outlays of £17,734 per year, £2,532 less than the University of Cambridge figure. Accommodation for Anglia Ruskin is only slightly cheaper than it is for Cambridge students, but the former save more in terms of food, spending £150 per month compared to Cambridge’s £273, and socialising, which costs £40 per month at Anglia Ruskin and £95 per month at Cambridge.
One of the most revealing findings was the difference between the expenses of Cambridge students and those of their historic rivals at Oxford. According to the research, Cambridge students spent £433 per month on accommodation in halls, as opposed to Oxford students, who spent £568 on average. The research suggests that halls are the more financially beneficial option for Cambridge students, as renting privately costs them £498 per month. The difference is less tangible for Oxford students, as for them, renting privately is in fact cheaper, but only by £5 per month.
Extraneous purchases also appear to cost more for Oxford students. The amount spent by Oxford students on socialising each month is almost double the Cambridge figure, at £182. One of the biggest differences between the universities was in how much they spend per month on clothes shopping; Cambridge students spend a modest £30, whereas Oxford students spend £182.
However, there was no difference between the two universities when it came to tuition fees (£9,250 per year), laundry (£20 per month) and books (£14 per month). In addition, Cambridge proved to be more expensive than Oxford in two areas that were evaluated: travel costs and gym costs. Oxford students’ monthly outgoings for the gym are £12, compared to Cambridge students who spend £14. Travel for Cambridge students costs £39 per month, but only £33 for Oxford students.
A spokesperson for the University of Cambridge told Cambridge News: “Cambridge provides a world-class education and access to the very best academics, resources and support. To this end, we invest, on average, almost twice the current fee on each undergraduate student every year.
“Student living costs at Cambridge are competitive and our world-class resources help to keep study costs low. The University and Colleges offer extensive financial support to ensure that students can meet the costs of their degree, regardless of their background. We offer one of the most substantial bursary schemes in the UK and spend around £6.5million on bursaries annually.”
Gocompare.com, who compiled their data from university pages and local councils, have emphasised that the data is meant for guidance only, and have stressed the importance of students doing their own independent research. Calculations are based on the averages from data provided, however the site notes that these figures can vary greatly depending on each individual student’s lifestyle.
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