With a new university term approaching, thousands of eager college and sixth-form leavers will be either looking forward to starting their degree or still in the process of sorting a university place.
But with tuition fees now costing up to £9,000 a year and living costs rising, it is now more important than ever before for students to pick the right university which will give them a good balance of quality learning and cheap living costs. Research two weeks ago showed that on average, a student starting a course this year would rack up an eye-watering £53,000 debt – making the wrong choice when it comes to selecting university can end up being a costly mistake.
A new Student Value for Money report from Simple Landlords Insurance has ranked all 116 universities according to tuition fees, local rental prices and their position on the university league table 2013, arriving at a final score to represent the overall value for money each institution provides. The report has crowned University of Liverpool the winner, offering the best value for money to students in the country.
With tuition fees at £6,750 a year and average rental prices sitting at £56.94 per week, students will also benefit from a good standard of learning, coming 31st in the university league table for academia for 2013.
Aston University and Ulster University were second and third in the list for value respectively, again offering cheaper tuition fees, rental costs alongside a steady learning environment.
The University of Northampton has the cheapest course fees of all the universities surveyed, with an average cost of £3,375 for next year. This places it sixth on the list for value overall, however it ranks lowly in the University League table, coming 101st.
Durham University is the highest ranked university when it comes to the quality of the institution in the top ten for value. It is the fifth best university in the country according to the league table – but comes with £9,000 course fees, but has cheap rent at an average of £66.66 per week.
According to the research, 45 universities – roughly two in five – will charge the maximum course fee of £9,000 a year. Geographical location isn’t a significant factor in this, but their position in the overall league table played a part. Eight of the top ten performers in the academic rankings charge £9,000 a year course fees – Cambridge, LSE, Oxford, Imperial, Durham, St Andrews, UCL and Lancaster.
Only Bath and Warwick – which are 6th and 10th respectively in the academic rankings – are the highest ranked universities with course fees under £9,000.
At the other end of the scale, all of the bottom ten universities for value are located in London, according to the report. A huge factor in this statistic is the fact rental prices and living costs for students are high in the capital.
East London University is ranked the worst for value. It has £9,000 a year course fees, an average rent of £108.03 a week and is ranked the second worst university in the country in the league table, beaten only by Bolton University.
South Bank, Middlesex, Greenwich and London Metropolitan complete the top five list. All rental prices for the capital are based at £108.03 – this is because students who study in the capital tend to live all around it, not just where their university is located.
The cheapest average rent for students can be found in Middlesborough-based Teeside University, with an average weekly outlay of just £43.68. Other top performers include Glamorgan with weekly rental costs on average £43.68, Staffordshire (£46.69) and Hull (£47.42).