The state of student housing in the UK

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
January 13, 2020, 8:56 AM GMT+0

Quarter of students say their rent alone greatly exceeds their student loan – leaving nothing for living expenses

As students head back to university following their Christmas break - YouGov polling shows that half of students will have nothing left to cover food and other expenses after paying their rent.

Paying rent and working

Over half (51%) of students who use their loan to pay rent say the cost consumes their entire annual entitlement. Around a sixth (16%) say the cost is only slightly greater than the loan they receive, but for a quarter (25%) the cost of rent is significantly greater than the figure they are allocated for their student loan.

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Many students seek part time work when they are away at university to bolster their income, and one in five (21%) of those say they spend more time working than studying.

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The cost of rent may come as a shock to some students, as just a third (37%) said they considered the cost of accommodation as a factor when choosing a university.

So high is the price of rent for some students that 17% of those who pay it on their own say they have considered dropping out of their studies due to it.

Quality of housing and landlords

The stereotype of the student home, portrayed in comedies such as The Young Ones and Fresh Meat, is one of low quality, damp and cold buildings. But is this stereotype based in truth?

A third of students surveyed (37%) say that university-managed halls of residence, typically where students live during their first year of study, is of good quality. Only 13% say their experience was poor.

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Students experience with privately rented housing, which is typically-off campus and where students live after their first year, is slightly worse. One in five (21%) students surveyed who have lived in this type of accommodation said it is of generally poor quality, while 32% say it is generally of good quality.

Although the quality is better than often thought, students are still unsure whether it justifies the cost of rent. A third (35%) of students surveyed say university-managed halls of residence are good value, compared to 39% who think the cost outweighs the quality. In comparison, two in five (41%) students surveyed say privately-rented student housing is good value for money, compared to a third (34%) who say it isn’t.