The Student Living Index 2017, a July study commissioned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, has found that Glasgow is the least affordable city for students in the United Kingdom. A total of 3,407 students living in 35 cities across the UK were surveyed, with Glasgow having the highest monthly living and accommodation costs in relation to average monthly income.
Students in Glasgow reported the lowest average income out of the 35 cities assessed, around £786.60 per month, despite working an above-average number of hours in part-time jobs. They also paid above average for their household bills and received the lowest amount in bursaries and scholarships in Scotland, but had the fourth-highest socialising expenditure in the UK. Those studying in Glasgow do spend less than average on rent, however, paying around £433.91 in comparison to the UK average of £448.
Cardiff was found to be the most affordable city overall, with students having the second-highest average income and the third-lowest average rent payments. Aberdeen also fared well in the survey; students in the city had the highest average income, a statistic which was helped by their receiving around £220 per month from part-time work, more than double the UK average of £97.
Levels of participation in the survey were fairly low - from Glasgow itself, only 104 students responded, despite Glasgow City Council having reported that there are over 100,000 students living in the city.
Dan Jones, Royal Bank of Scotland Head of Student Accounts, discussed the purpose of the survey: “The Student Living Index helps students to see how they might budget while at University.
“Our main priority is to help students stay on top of their finances throughout their studies and our Student Account offers a number of features to help students make the most of their money and their time while at University.”
Kate Powell, Students' Representative Council (SRC) President, commented on the findings in relation to Glasgow's affordability: “I do have issues with this report, as I don't think surveying 3000 students constitutes as quantitative data (there are over 200,000 students in Scotland). Due to the survey's poor response rate, the report should not inform students' perceptions on living in Glasgow.
“The SRC will continue to push the University in supporting students' living costs through increasing bursaries and support available. We recognise that living costs have skyrocketed in the West End and increasing rents have a major part to play.
“Our Sabbatical team are working to increase better transparency of rental accommodation and to lobby the Council to limit rent increases, whilst our Advice Team continue to provide financial and accommodation advice for all students By September, we will have a landlord rating scheme in place.”