Arthur takes a look at the rental costs for students in London and why it is becoming more and more unsustainable for them.
The cost of University is already putting potential students off the idea and the cost of renting in London is higher that any other town or city in the UK. Although higher maintenance loans are granted to those students living and studying in London, is it enough?
The NUS/Unipol survey indicates the cost of renting for students is hitting the £225 per week mark on average! This is considerably higher than the UK average, where accommodation is costing £147 per week. That means students in London are paying almost 30% more than their counterparts throughout the country.
To help students with rent and living costs, maintenance loans are granted to students in universities all over the UK. In London however, students receive more due to the higher living costs. Over a 3 year period, which is the average university course length, a maintenance loan of £10,500 is received compared to around £7,500 outside the capital. However, with a typical tenancy length of 42 weeks, is the extra £3,000 a year enough for students in London? The answer is no. The majority of students in London struggle to live off this and are forced two borrow from parents or get jobs to increase their income. Costly accommodation prices have led to protests, as seen in the last 5 months when 200 UCL students carried out a rent strike. Part time jobs and additional grants are necessary for a large percentage of students.
Forgetting rent costs for one moment, travel and food are the main additional costs for students. Even with a 1/3 discount for a student monthly/yearly travel card it still costs £88 a month for Zones 1&2. When comparing this to a £25 per month travel card in central zones in Newcastle, eyes are widened with the price difference. Furthermore, students will be students. London has one of the most expensive nightlife’s in the country. So, when students in London do cut loose, they are paying a premium.
Taking all this into consideration, it is clear more financial support is necessary for students in London. This could be offered with higher maintenance loans with less interest. Additionally, London institutions could be given higher subsidies or the introduction of new affordable student accommodation builds. Otherwise, the U.K’s capital runs the risk of alienating it’s internal talent.
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