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The index also found overall student satisfaction with their courses to be fairly low, with just under half of Glasgow students surveyed said to be enjoying their university degree.

The NatWest Student Living Index 2020 has found that Glasgow has Scotland’s highest Student Living Index (SLI) at 0.89, and one of the highest in the UK as a whole. The index also found that the average cost of living for students in the UK has barely changed since last year.

The SLI is determined by dividing overall living and accommodation expenses by average monthly income for students. The lower the value, the better the cost of living for students.

Edinburgh had the lowest SLI for a Scottish city at 0.74, while Manchester, which the index found to have the lowest index in the UK, had an SLI of 0.57.

The index also examined other areas of student life across the UK, such as general finances, reasons for accepting their chosen universities, and course satisfaction.

Examining student finances, it was found that Glasgow is one of the least expensive cities for students in terms of accommodation, with monthly rent costs averaging at around £373. Glasgow students also have an average monthly income of around £838, comparatively lower than most other cities. 

For example, in Cambridge, which ranked highest among the surveyed cities in this regard, students earn on average a little over £600 more per month than Glasgow students. The index attributed lower average income as a potential reason as to why the city’s SLI was as high as it was when compared to cities in other parts of the UK. 

The index also found overall student satisfaction with their courses to be fairly low, with just under half of Glasgow students surveyed said to be enjoying their university degree. On the other hand, only a little over a third of Glasgow students surveyed claimed to be finding their university degree stressful, just under the UK student average. 

58% of students also said that the main reason they chose to study in Glasgow was their university’s subject choice, which was found by the index to be the most important motivational factor for choosing where to study.

As informative as these figures may be in indicating general attitudes, they are not wholly representative of Glasgow students. A University official noted that the index only includes undergraduates and that it might not be representative of all Glasgow students.

In total, 2,806 UK students were surveyed for this index, with only 90 students from Glasgow being included. Other towns and cities that are home to universities, such as Stirling, St Andrews, Dundee, and Hull, were also surveyed for the study, though were not included in the final figures for comparison. As a result, the index does not give a fully comprehensive rundown of student attitudes specific to any one city.


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