In a recent Telegraph article, Oxford University freshers’ bills were found to be amongst the highest in the country. The average Oxford first year pays around £273 a week (HSBC) putting our students’ living costs ahead of Cambridge, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
UCL and Imperial University cost more per week than Oxford. However, London students living away from home can get up to £2196 in grants to help with the premium of studying in the capital. The same ‘capital city’ grant is not available to students studying outside London, in spite of similar average weekly costs.
Isobel Wilson, who has just finished her first year at Regents Park College says of Oxford living costs,
‘Being at a college that does not provide accommodation for the duration of my degree or a subsidy for living out, I am definitely affected by the fact that my maintenance loan doesn’t reflect the high cost of living in Oxford. I’m working two jobs this summer to make up the difference in my living costs and loan and know that I’ll have to be even more careful than usual with my money.’
Oxford house prices are increasingly making second year harder for Oxford students as they have to foot rent and bills close to London prices.
‘My rent is just so much more expensive than my friends’ at other universities and it’s frustrating that they are able to get shorter leases for cheaper houses while still receiving the same amount of maintenance loan. The only positive about earning money this summer as opposed to receiving a higher loan is not having to pay the high interest rates which I guess in the long run will save me money- sadly my summer just hasn’t worked out as fun as I would have like!’
The same problem applies to first year accommodation, which is often more expensive than other universities. According to HSBC, Oxford freshers pay £273 per week on college rent, food, and living costs, whilst London students pay a little more at £287 per week. Compared to students at universities such as Nottingham and Brighton whose costs are considerably less, £182 and £199 respectively per week, Oxford is at the top end of the scale.
In the Telegraph, Joe Vinson (head of further education at the National Union of Students said, “students are facing a crisis as financial support in loans and grants fails to keep pace with spiraling bills for basic essentials”.