According to a new study by Arora Medical Education, St Andrews is among the most expensive places for students to live outside of London as of 2022. The study, which analysed 36 of the UK’s top medical schools, utilised data from Zoopla, Ofgem, Numbeo, and university campus listings to compare a variety of figures including rent, energy, and food costs per week.
St Andrews living costs were estimated to be £188.50 per week for students living in town, outside of student halls. Students living in student halls were found to spend even more, spending an average of £224.55 per week on living costs.
Of the 36 medical schools analysed, St Andrews was found to be the most expensive in Scotland in terms of living costs per week. The University of Dundee and University of Aberdeen were among the cheapest in the UK with students living outside of halls spending £141 and £141.80 per week on average, respectively. The University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow were also found to be cheaper than St Andrews, the former averaging at £183.70 and the latter at £155.30.
That said, St Andrews ranked the third cheapest when only utilities are considered — £34.75 per week — and sixth cheapest when only food costs are considered — £37.80 per week, indicating rent contributed most significantly to the weekly average.
Past studies on British universities have reported similar findings. A survey of 35 UK universities conducted in 2019 by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) listed St Andrews rent as the fourth most expensive outside of London, averaging at £527 per month. In alignment with Arora’s study, it found that out of the 35 universities, St Andrews spent the least on household bills.
Arora’s study found that rent on its own in St Andrews averaged at £152 per week which is approximately £760 per month — this increase from the £527 listed in the RBS study conducted three years ago is in line with findings that student rents in Scotland have increased 30 percent over the last three years.
Campaign for Affordable Housing (C.A.S.H.) St Andrews, a student-run initiative campaigning for affordable housing for St Andrews students, spoke on Arora’s study. “The findings of this study put solid numbers to what we already know: St. Andrews is becoming wildly more expensive and for many it’s reached a breaking point,” Barry Will, the Director of C.A.S.H. said.
“It is unacceptable that this is allowed to continue unchallenged,” Mr Will continued, “What we need now is decisive action from our University and Fife Council to consider how we can regulate the housing market to ensure St. Andrews is a safe, welcoming, and affordable place for all students.”
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