According to NatWest’s seventh Student Living Index, Brighton is no longer the best university city or town to live in for cost-effective studying.

Twenty-five university cities and towns were surveyed and the findings showed Brighton plumeted18 places from the top position last year.

The research examines how cost-effective each location is based on spending habits, and how students offset these costs. Interestingly Brighton has fallen behind university cities and towns that include Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh and even London. Brighton remains ahead of places such as Exeter and Leicester. Belfast and York occupy the last two positions of the tables respectively.

The findings show that students in Brighton spend the most money each week and this is driven by higher rent prices. Students living in Brighton generally spend £30 more on rent than the national average of £201.77. Travel spending is also higher for students on the south coast. The blow is not softened by university loans as it is estimated that students in Brighton rely on £215.99 a week from these loans, which is over twice the national average.

As a result, more students living in Brighton have to work to offset their costs. 65% of Brighton students are turning to part-time jobs and working an average of 15 hours a week. Tom Adamson, Head of NatWest Student Banking, said: “Students are taking on more part-time work and snapping up summer employment opportunities, in seaside towns like Brighton, to bring in extra money for university life. This approach is a great way to financially prepare for your future.”
However, the average Brighton student’s income has fallen from fallen from £283.87 per week to only £228.49. This equates to a yearly loss of £1,661.40, which is equivalent to 2,596 tins of baked beans – an essential part of any student’s diet.

One third year psychology student says that in her second year she was paying £750 with her flatmate for a two-bedroom flat, excluding bills. She said, “I don’t think I would have been able to afford this without having worked part-time in retail, which was very stressful because I was also trying to cope with coursework and the work experience I was doing to help me get an internship for when I finish my degree.”

The University of Sussex Student’s Union has released a statement saying: “The Union is concerned about the rise in living costs in Brighton and the surrounding areas. The University has a responsibility to mitigate this rise by making sure affordable accommodation is available to students. The Union is currently campaigning for the University to significantly lower the average rent prices on campus by freezing rent costs and replacing East Slope with an affordable alternative.”

With the impending rise in tuition fees and the substantial decrease in Brighton’s cost-effectiveness, the future generation of students at the Universities of Sussex and Brighton have a difficult road ahead of them.

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