Choosing the right university is an important step in any student’s academic career. The UK has always been a popular destination for higher education for both local and international students.

Fresh Student Living have looked into which cities are best for affordability, employability, education and overall happiness and satisfaction.

Belfast Named Happiest City 

In a survey carried out by Sodexo, thousands of students were asked to rate how they felt about certain aspects of student life, including standards of education, nightlife affordability and stress levels.

The survey found that Belfast is home to the happiest students in Britain, with an impressive 94% of its students stating that they’re ‘very happy’ with their education and social life. Brighton came in second with 93%, followed by Coventry with 92%. 

1.Belfast – 94%
2. Brighton – 93%
3. Coventry – 92%
4. Wolverhampton – 91%
5. Swansea – 90%
6. Leeds – 89%
7. Aberystwyth – 87%
8. Birmingham – 86%
9. Bristol – 85% 

Cardiff is the Cheapest City for Students

According to Natwest Student Living Index, Cardiff is the cheapest UK city for students. The Welsh capital is closely followed by Aberdeen and Durham as the most cost-effective cities for students. Canterbury, Swansea, Manchester, Reading, Leicester, York and Sheffield make up the rest of the list. Almost 3500 students across 35 popular universities were surveyed to determine the most affordable place to study. Numerous factors were considered, including the cost of food, rent, and bills like utilities and transport, how much time was spent studying, working and socialising, and how much term-time income they receive. 

Turns out, the biggest expenditure for students is food shopping and household items, which costs about £78.10 a month, while an average student spends around £43.30 on socialising and entertainment. Students in Reading seem to spend the most time socialising at 38.6 hours a month, while Aberystwyth students spend the most money on alcohol at £50.87 a month. This is compared to the national average of £38.61. 

London Named Best UK Student City in the World

According to the latest QS Best Student Cities index, the UK has the second-highest number of entries following the US. London enjoys a spot in the top five Best Student Cities in the world. These have been assessed on various indicators, including university rankings, affordability, student mix and employer activity.

The top UK cities are: 

  1. London 
  2. Edinburgh 
  3. Manchester
  4. Coventry
  5. Nottingham
  6. Glasgow 
  7. Birmingham 
  8. Newcastle 

To Stay or Not to Stay? 

Attending a university and getting your degree is one thing, but what about finding a job once you graduate? Is it worth sticking around in your graduate city or are you better off moving to another location? 

The Hescu Graduate Market Trends report details the percentage of students who left their home region in 2017 to study, compared to the percentage who choose to remain close to home while receiving their tertiary education.

  • 25% of employed graduates moved away from their home region to study but returned home to work. They are known as ‘returners’
  • ‘Incomers’ are the 18% of graduates who worked in a region where they neither studied nor were raised
  • 12% of employed graduates, also known as ‘stayers’, left their home region to study and stayed on to work
  • Finally, 46% of employed graduates studied and worked in their home region. They are known as ‘loyals’

Most Employable City for Graduates

Sheffield is the most employable city in the UK for graduates. The research was conducted by property portal The HouseShop and includes graduate 'hot spots', with Sheffield coming out tops for its perfect combination of affordability, good starting salaries, a wealth of social activities, and yes, even the cheap cost of a pint, which is a mere £2.70 compared to London's £3.92. 

Sheffield graduates can enjoy an average starting salary of £25,000, while the average price of a two-bedroom property costs £119 806. The estimated monthly income after tax, utility bills and student loan repayments is £1 173.99. On the flip side, London and Brighton found themselves at the bottom of the list, being ranked as the two worst places for quality of life. Despite the capital being the best for graduates in terms of employment, its high rental costs mean graduates are left with the lowest disposable incomes out of all the cities. 

Most employable UK cities are:

  1. Sheffield
  2. Glasgow 
  3. Leeds 
  4. Newcastle 
  5. Birmingham 
  6. Liverpool 
  7. Manchester 
  8. Cardiff 
  9. Bristol 
  10. Reading 
  11. Edinburgh 
  12. Oxford

Brighton Named Most Entrepreneurial City 

According to a report by Instant Offices, Brighton is the most entrepreneurial UK city, followed by Manchester and Nottingham in second and third place respectively. This was determined by analysing Companies House data and comparing population estimates in UK cities with the number of businesses launched there in the last two years. Surprisingly, London did not make the top 10. 
A survey by YouthSite of 1 006 students across UK universities found that 15% of students plan to launch their own start-up business after graduating from university. As for their reasons, 45% said they desired to be their own boss, while 27% believe they would make more money working for themselves than for someone else. The survey also found that male undergraduates are more likely to start their own business, with 20% of male participants interested in starting their own business ventures, compared to only 11% of female graduates.

The University of Buckingham Ranked Top University for Student Satisfaction 

If you are considering moving to a different city or town for university, it’s a good idea to review how other students rate the experience.

Let’s look at which universities made the cut for student satisfaction, as rated by The Complete University Guide:

  1. University of Buckingham, Buckingham
  2. Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool
  3. University of St. Andrews, Scotland
  4. Keele University, Staffordshire
  5. Coventry University, Coventry

According to Fresh Student Living, ‘With International students seeking high-quality education and a living experience to match, it’s no surprise that applications are up for September 2018. Purpose-built student accommodation offers international students (and their parents) peace of mind, all-inclusive rent, organised social events and, above all, an environment that supports their studies, where they can meet students from other cultures and make the most of their time in the UK.'

About Fresh Student LivingFresh Student Living is a leading provider of student accommodation offering homes to over 16,000 students in more than 50 towns and cities across the UK. Their philosophy revolves around creating quality student homes as unique as the people who live in them and has resulted in 90% of students rating their time with Fresh Student Living as very satisfied or satisfied.

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