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Glasgow ranks second for student living costs in the UK

Survey also shows students in Glasgow have the second lowest average monthly term-time incomes


Students in Glasgow are facing the second-highest cost of living among their peers in the UK, according to a recent survey conducted by Natwest.

In the Natwest Student Living Index, the survey looked at 3052 students across 63 university towns and cities. Edinburgh and Glasgow emerged as cities with the lowest average monthly term-time income, followed by London and Coventry. This factor contributes significantly to the financial strain experienced by students in these cities.

Ilana Booth, a current master’s student studying global health at UofG told The Tab how the last few years have been financially difficult: “It’s been a nightmare to try and get a job or get more hours in my work as so many people are doing the same.”

An intriguing insight revealed that students in Glasgow dedicate nearly three times as much time to studying at home compared to those in Bournemouth, who spend the least amount of time on home-based study.

Students in Wales and Scotland were found to be more dependent on term-time work income compared to their counterparts in other regions, highlighting the reliance on external employment to support their educational pursuits.

The survey also highlighted a remarkable 44 per cent surge in supermarket spending since the previous year, juxtaposed with an overall decrease in spending across various categories.

Notably, students in Glasgow led in monthly expenditure on social outings, emphasizing their determination to balance social activities despite financial constraints.

“I think the worst thing has been supermarket prices increasing, my food shops cost me so much money even though I’m only shopping for one person I’m spending a fortune every month. I’ve even found bars, restaurants, etc have put their prices uploads so nights out can be quite expensive,” Ilana said.

A concerning trend uncovered by the survey is that almost half of the students admitted to running out of money before the end of the term, a stark increase from the previous year’s figure of one in three students facing similar circumstances.

In a broader context, across the UK, nine in ten students reported making lifestyle changes to manage their budgets. This number climbed to a remarkable 96 per cent for students in Glasgow, Bournemouth, and Cardiff, showcasing their determination to adapt in the face of financial challenges.

Rent remains the largest monthly outgoing for students in 2023. Caitlin Maria McDermott, a business management and economics student at Glasgow University, shared her renting experiences in the west end with The Tab, claiming that the price is considerably higher than in Aberdeen.

“We are paying £2000 per month for a flat for the three of us and my friend has been paying £1335 for hers this year for the same size,” she added, “It is more specifically the west end because we did look at flats nearer the east end and they are more around that price range but the area around our university can just be insanely pricey.”

Furthermore, the survey revealed that 57 per cent of students in Glasgow felt their university offered no support to address the ongoing cost of living crisis, marking Glasgow as the second city in the UK with the highest perceived lack of university support.

The University of Glasgow spokesperson responded to The Tab: “Student welfare is the University’s prime concern and it offers support to those who need it most. It has more than doubled the support offered through its Student Hardship Fund, increasing its contribution by over £1 million. This is alongside providing various practical services and advice, including accessible, warm spaces on-campus, low-cost hot food, and wellbeing support.”