1. Home
  2. Student
  3. UK student cost of living statistics 2023

UK student cost of living statistics 2023

Confused.com C icon
Our expert panel reviews all content. Learn more about our editorial standards and how we operate.

This page includes relevant UK student cost of living statistics for 2023, such as:

  • Average student spending per month (such as average cost of student accommodation, utility bills, and food)
  • Average student income statistics and where most students typically get their money from
  • Student contents insurance statistics (by age, gender, and region)
  • Student cost of living support statistics and what the UK government is doing to help students

Feature image with the title UK student cost of living statistics 2023 and a pot of money with a hat

The UK has been experiencing a cost of living crisis since late 2021. With 7 months of double-digit inflation between September 2022 and March 2023, this has increased the average price of the UK’s goods and services.

As of 2021-22, there were almost 2.86 million university students in the UK, accounting for around 4.24% of the UK population. With an average monthly income during term-time of £2,893, UK students are feeling the pinch just as much as other groups in society.

Given the current cost of living crisis, we’ve collated a range of student cost of living statistics for 2023, including:

  • Average student income statistics
  • Average cost of student living (such as rent, food, and bills)
  • Government support available for students during the cost of living crisis
  • Over 90% of UK students have experienced a rise in their university cost of living
  • Almost half (49%) of students have financial worries while at university
  • Around 3 in 5 students (58%) admitted that their student loan did not adequately cover living costs while at university
  • According to a Natwest survey, Bournemouth is ranked as the best UK university in terms of student cost of living
  • The average student income in the UK is £2,893 per month (during term-time) and rose almost 60% between 2022-23
  • Over half (54%) of UK students rely on their student loans as a primary source of income
  • Average student monthly spending fell by 9% between 2022-23
  • As of 2023, the average cost of student accommodation in the UK is around £592 per month (up 30% from 2022)
  • Based on Confused.com data, the average cost of student contents insurance was £66.55 a year in 2023
  • According to our survey, more than half (58%) of UK students don’t have contents insurance while at university.

According to an ONS study from November 2022:

  • More than 9 in 10 (92%) students reported their cost of living had increased compared to the previous year.
  • 91% were either somewhat or very worried about this rising cost.
  • Around half (49%) of students felt they suffered from financial difficulties while at university.
  • A third (33%) claimed these were minor worries, but around 1 in 6 (16%) stated they had major difficulties in keeping up with rising costs.
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of students had a student loan. More than half of these students (58%) admitted it didn’t cover their living costs, and a quarter (25%) said it only just covered them.

In response to the rising student cost of living:

  • Almost a third (30%) had taken on new debt. Of these, almost three-quarters (71%) claimed this was because their student loan wasn’t enough to cover their living costs.
  • More than three-quarters (78%) believed the rising cost of student living would have a negative effect on their studies.
  • More than a third (35%) reported they’re now less likely to do further study as a result once their course finishes.

The average level of life satisfaction among higher education students was significantly lower than the general UK adult population (5.8 vs 6.9, respectively). Almost half (46%) of students reported a decline in their mental health since the start of the 2022 Autumn term.

Are you or someone you know heading off to university? Check out our ultimate student moving checklist to ensure you’ve got everything sorted before you leave.

Average student cost of living statistics

After dropping by more than a fifth (22%) since 2022, the Student Living Index improved again in 2023, this time by almost a third (30%) in its average score. This indicates a gradual improvement in the standard of student living across UK universities.

Natwest’s Student Living Index is calculated using average monthly accommodation and living costs for uni students, and dividing it by students’ average monthly income during term-time. The lower a city scores on the index, the ‘better’ it scores in terms of student cost of living.

A breakdown of average student cost of living statistics for UK universities in 2023

Map of the UK showing average student cost of living statistics for UK universities in 2023

According to the most recent Natwest survey, the best UK university for student cost of living in 2023 is Bournemouth (0.31), followed closely by Cardiff (0.32).

Those universities with the highest cost of living for students are:

  • Edinburgh (0.74) – for the second year in a row.
  • Glasgow (0.68)
  • London (0.59)
  • Coventry (0.58)

How much is the average student income per month in the UK?

Statistics from Natwest reveal that Cardiff students typically have the highest average student income per month during term-time in the UK. At £3,328, this is marginally more than those at Bournemouth but around £435 more than the average UK student.

A breakdown of the highest and lowest average student income per month at different universities across the UK

Bar chart showing the highest and lowest average student income per month at different universities across the UK

At the other end of the scale, students studying in Edinburgh have the lowest average income per month, at £1,454 per student. This is around £150 a month less than those attending Glasgow, and around half the national average.

The Natwest Student Living Index reveals some interesting patterns in terms of how much students rely on different streams of income while at university. For example:

  • Scottish students are less reliant on student loans than other parts of the country. This is likely due to free tuition fees for local students across Scotland.
  • Students in Bournemouth are most reliant on student loans as their primary source of income (73%).
  • Students studying at Oxford and Coventry are most likely to rely on their parents or family for income (48.9% and 39.6%, respectively).
  • Cardiff students have the highest term-time income from part-time work (£219.54 per month) of any UK university, despite spending less time in work than the top 4 universities.
  • Oxford, Edinburgh, and Newcastle students are most likely to use holiday work as part of their income during university.
  • Students in Oxford are less reliant on student loans, but are more likely to depend on scholarships and bursaries compared to other universities.

A breakdown of different income sources for UK students and how this contribution changed between 2022 and 2023

Bar chart showing different income sources for UK students and how this contribution changed between 2022 and 2023

According to Natwest’s report, the average income of a UK student rose by almost 60% between 2022-23. This rose from just over £1,600 a month during term-time to around £2,640.

There’ve been some significant changes between 2022 and 2023 in the average monthly contributions to student income from different sources, including:

  • A rise in the average monthly contribution from student loans to a typical student’s income. This has almost doubled in the last year, to £1,427 per month.
  • An increase in the contributions from sponsorships, from £8.51 to £337 per month.
  • A decrease in the amount parents and family members are contributing to student income. This is around £110 a month less in 2023 compared to 2022.
  • A 37% rise in contributions from bursaries and scholarships, from an average of £118 a month to £162.

As of 2023, more than half (54%) of students now rely on a student loan as their primary source of income. This is up slightly from 49% just 12 months earlier.

Despite improvements in the Student Cost of Living Index since 2022, just under half (47%) of students in 2023 find themselves short of money before the end of term. This figure is up from 35% in 2022.

According to UK student finance statistics, the government spent more than £206 billion on student maintenance loans in 2022.

The latest figures for 2023 reveal the average student maintenance loan for UK students was around £5,820 a year. But this can vary depending on:

  • Whether you live in London or not
  • Where you’re living while studying (i.e. at home or away from home)
  • Your combined household income

England 2023-24 maintenance loan statistics

The maximum amount a student studying in England can get for a maintenance loan and grant package is £13,022. This is available to students living away from home and in London, with a combined household income of £25,000 or less.

A breakdown of maintenance loan amounts in England for the 2023-24 academic year

Household income Living at home while studying Away from home while studying (outside London) Away from home while studying (London)
£25,000 or less
£8,400
£9,978
£13,022
£30,000
£7,694
£9,265
£12,297
£35,000
£6,988
£8,552
£11,571
£40,000
£6,282
£7,839
£10,845
£45,000
£5,576
£7,125
£10,120
£50,000
£4,869
£6,412
£9,394
£55,000
£4,163
£5,699
£8,668
£60,000
£3,698
£4,986
£7,943
£65,000
£3,698
£4,651
£7,217
£70,000
£3,698
£4,651
£6,491
£70,040+
£3,698
£4,651
£6,485

(Source: Savethestudent.org)

The minimum maintenance loan and grant package available for English students is £3,698. This is available to those with a combined household income of £60,000 or more, and who are living at home while studying at university.

The amount of maintenance loan yrather ou get depends on your exact household income. For example, £32,565, than a band, such as £30,000 - £35,000.

Wales 2023-24 maintenance loan statistics

The Welsh government offers students a combination of maintenance loans and grants. Similar to other parts of the UK, this depends on your household income and where you’re living and studying.

Welsh students in the same living situation all get the same amount of money. The difference is how much of that falls under a grant or maintenance loan.

A breakdown of maintenance loan amounts in Wales for the 2023-24 academic year

  Household income £18,370 or less £25,000 £35,000 £45,000 £59,200+
Living at home while studying
Grant
£6,885
£5,930
£4,488
£3,047
£1,000
 
Loan
£3,065
£4,020
£5,462
£6,903
£8,950
 
Total
£9,950
£9,950
£9,950
£9,950
£9,950
Away from home while studying (outside London)
Grant
£8,100
£6,947
£5,208
£3,469
£1,000
 
Loan
£3,620
£4,773
£6,512
£8,251
£10,720
 
Total
£11,720
£11,720
£11,720
£11,720
£11,720
Away from home while studying (London)
Grant
£10,124
£8,643
£6,408
£4,174
£1,000
 
Loan
£4,551
£5,992
£8,227
£10,461
£13,635
 
Total
£14,635
£14,635
£14,635
£14,635
£14,635

(Source: Savethestudent.org)

Similar to the rest of the UK, maintenance loans in Wales are based on exact household incomes, rather than bands.

The maximum amount a student studying in Wales can get for a maintenance loan and grant package is £14,635. This is available to students living away from home and in London.

The minimum maintenance loan and grant package available for Welsh students is £9,950, and is available to those living at home while studying at university.

The funding body in Scotland for university students is the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). They offer bursaries and grants as part of their student finance package.

Like other parts of the UK, the amount you get depends on your household income. But, unlike other areas, it’s not dependent on where you’re studying, and is based on bands rather than exact income levels.

A breakdown of maintenance loan amounts in Scotland for the 2023-24 academic year

Household income Loan Bursary Total
£20,999 or less
£7,000
£2,000
£9,000
£21,000 to £23,999
£7,000
£1,125
£8,125
£24,000 to £33,999
£7,000
£500
£7,500
£34,000
£6,000
£0
£6,000

(Source: Savethestudent.org)

The maximum maintenance loan and bursary package available for Scottish students is £9,000. This is eligible to those from the lowest income bracket (less than £20,999 a year), with just under a quarter of this (£2,000) coming from a grant.

The minimum maintenance loan and grant package available in Scotland is £6,000. This is eligible to those in the highest income bracket (£34,000 a year and above) and is made up entirely of a loan.

In addition to maintenance loans, Student Finance Northern Ireland offers students a grant. Your level of household income and where you’re studying determine how much of your student finance package is made up of grant and loan.

A breakdown of maintenance loan amounts in Northern Ireland for the 2023-24 academic year for those living at home

Household income £19,203 or less £25,000 £30,000 £35,000 £41,540 £45,000 £50,451+
Grant
£3,475
£2,201
£1,125
£689
£1,125
£0
£0
Loan
£3,135
£3,605
£4,035
£4,561
£5,250
£4,741
£3,939
Total
£6,610
£5,806
£5,250
£5,250
£5,250
£4,740
£3,938

(Source: Savethestudent.org)

The minimum amount available for students in Northern Ireland living at home while studying is £3,939. This is available to those from a combined household income of more than £50,451, and is entirely made up of the student loan.

The maximum amount available to Northern Ireland students living at home while at university is £6,610. This is an almost even split between loan and grant.

A breakdown of maintenance loan amounts in Northern Ireland for the 2023-24 academic year for those living away from home and outside of London

Household income £19,203 or less £25,000 £30,000 £35,000 £41,540 £45,000 £53,035+
Grant
£3,475
£2,201
£1,125
£689
£1,125
£0
£0
Loan
£4,661
£5,131
£5,561
£6,087
£6,776
£5,530
£5,084
Total
£8,136
£7,332
£6,776
£6,776
£6,776
£5,530
£5,084

(Source: Savethestudent.org)

The minimum amount available for students in Northern Ireland living away from home and studying outside of London is £5,084. This is available to those from a combined household income of more than £53,035, and is entirely made up of the student loan.

The maximum amount available in Northern Ireland to students living away from home while studying outside of London is £8,136. This is made up of 57% loan and 43% grant.

A breakdown of maintenance loan amounts in Northern Ireland for the 2023-24 academic year for those living away from home and in London

Household income £19,203 or less £25,000 £30,000 £35,000 £41,540 £45,000 £50,451+
Grant
£3,475
£2,201
£1,125
£689
£0
£0
£0
Loan
£7,377
£7,847
£8,277
£8,803
£9,492
£8,246
£7,121
Total
£10,852
£10,048
£9,492
£9,492
£9,492
£8,246
£7,121

(Source: Savethestudent.org)

The minimum amount available for students in Northern Ireland living away from home while studying in London is £7,121. This applies to those with a household income of more than £50,451, and is entirely made up of the student loan.

The maximum amount available to Northern Ireland students living away from home and studying in London while at university is £10,852. This is available to those from the lowest income bracket (£19,203 or less) and is made up of around two-thirds loan (68%) and one-third (32%) grant.

How much time does the average UK student spend per month on different activities in the UK?

As of 2023, the average UK student spends 40% of their time at university studying. This is up from 26% in 2022. A typical student in 2023 now spends around 119 hours a month on academic work. This includes attending lectures, completing coursework, and visiting the library to study.

A breakdown of the average number of hours spent each month on various activities by UK university students

Activity Average number of hours spent per month (2022) Average number of hours spent per month (2023)
Academic studying (i.e lectures, coursework, library)
84
119
Going out (i.e. socialising)
71
55
Hobbies
63
41
Home entertainment (i.e. gaming, online activities)
57
58
Part-time work
43
18

(Source: Natwest)

Between 2022 and 2023, the average number of hours spent in part-time work decreased by around 57%, from 43.16 hours per month to 18.3.

In addition to this, the number of hours students spend on streaming services averaged at 35.86 per month compared to 16.5 in 2022. This means that students now spend more time in 2023 streaming TV than going out with friends (approximately 30 hours per month).

When broken down by university:

  • Those in Bristol, Coventry, and Portsmouth spend the most amount of time each month in part-time work (all averaging over 24 hours per month).
  • The overall percentage of students with part-time jobs decreased from 46% to 42% between 2022 and 2023.
  • Students studying at Oxford spend more time studying on campus than any other university (126.91 per month).

Overall, the average monthly expenditure of UK students fell by 9% between 2022 and 2023.

Natwest’s Student Living Index shows that a typical UK student spends an average of:

  • £25 a month on studying (down 62% from 2022)
  • £53 a month on going out (down 24% from 2022)
  • £31 a month on hobbies (down 66% from 2022)
  • £10 a month on home entertainment (down 83% from 2022).

A breakdown of the average monthly spend for students on different activities in the UK

Butterfly chart showing average monthly spend for students on different activities in the UK

In total, an average student spends £119 a month on different activities in 2023, compared to £290 in 2022.

In 2023, around 44% of a typical student’s expenditure on activities was for going out, with just over a quarter (26%) on pursuing hobbies.

A breakdown of highest and lowest average total monthly student expenditure by UK university

Radial chart showing highest and lowest average total monthly student expenditure by UK university

In terms of average student spending per month, those in London spend more than any other students in the country (£1,445 per month). This is 16% more than students studying in Bournemouth, and almost a third (32%) more than the UK average (£1,048 per month).

Typically, students studying at York spend the least per month. With an average monthly spend of £839, this is 53% less than London students.

When broken down by category of spending, supermarket shopping forms the largest percentage of student expenditure in 2023. At almost £110 a month on average, a typical UK student spends almost a quarter (24%) of their uni budget on food, toiletries, and household items.

This is followed by eating out and transport costs for visiting home in term time (both 8% of total monthly spend).

A breakdown of average student spending per month in the UK by category

Source of spending Average total monthly student spending (£)
Supermarket shopping (i.e. food, toiletries household items)
£109.57
Eating out (inc. coffee shops and restaurants)
£37.53
Household bills (gas, electric, water, and internet)
£34.48
Clothes, shoes, and accessories
£33.78
Alcohol (both at home and while out)
£30.96
Trips (inc. visiting friends, weekends away, holidays)
£30.76
Takeaways (inc. food delivery and collection)
£28.80
Public transport (day-to-day travel)
£24.72
Private transport (car for day-to-day travel)
£22.04
Self-care and wellbeing (inc. gym, meditation, massage, beauty treatments)
£16.22
Mobile phone (bills and other related costs)
£12.62
Education (inc. books, course materials, printing and library costs)
£9.75
Other (inc. sports, societies and clubs, home entertainment, donating money to charity, and investing in cryptocurrency)
£4.59

(Source: Natwest)

For students taking a car to university, there are certain costs to consider, including tax, petrol, and insurance. The last in the list could add a significant amount to average spending costs while at uni. Also, bear in mind that some of the most car-friendly universities aren’t always the most affordable for car insurance.

In 2023, the average cost of student car insurance was £1,204 for those living away from home while at university. According to our data, those at University College London tend to pay the most at £1,559 per year for comprehensive young driver insurance. That’s compared to £559 at Lancaster University.

Want to save money on your car insurance while at university? Consider temporary student car insurance as a way of still having access to your car, but keeping the overall cost down.

In 2023, the average cost of student accommodation in the UK is around £592 per month. This is a rise of almost a third (30%) since 2022.

A breakdown of UK universities with the highest and lowest average student rent per month

Map of the UK showing UK universities with the highest and lowest average student rent per month

Typically, London is the most expensive place for students to rent in the UK, with average monthly renting costs of £840. In 2022, London overtook Manchester as the UK’s most expensive place for student accommodation costs. This cost increased by £335 in the last year alone.

Natwest’s Student Living Index shows that:

    Bristol is the UK’s second most expensive location for student accommodation. A typical student here is paying around £720 per month – around 15% less than those studying in London.
  • Newcastle, Sheffield, and Leicester are among the cheapest universities for average student accommodation costs – all less than £500 per month. Students studying in Newcastle pay, on average, around 90% less compared to those studying in the capital.

A breakdown of the main method for paying student rent while at university in the UK

Tree map showing the main method for paying student rent while at university in the UK

In terms of paying rent while at university, more than two-thirds (67%) of students rely on their student loan to cover the cost.

Around 2 in 5 (42%) turn to parents or family to help with the cost of rent each month, with less than a fifth (17%) using their personal savings.

As of 2023, the average monthly student utility bill in the UK was just under £34.48.

A breakdown of the highest and lowest average cost of student bills at different UK universities

Bar chart showing the highest and lowest average cost of student bills at different UK universities

Typically, students in Coventry pay the most for their utility bills each month, at an average of £64.19. This is around 15% more than those studying in Lincoln, at £54.99 per month.

At the other end of the scale, students in Portsmouth and Lancaster pay less than £10 a month for their average utility bills. They’re paying £8.99 and £5.26 per month, respectively.

For more information, check out our guide on how to save money on your student energy bills while at university.

As of 2023, the average UK university student spends £109.57 per month on groceries.

Outside of rent, student finance statistics from Natwest show that food shopping continues to be the main expense for UK students. Monthly spending has increased by 44% since 2022.

A breakdown of the highest and lowest average student grocery bill per month in the UK

Bar chart showing the highest and lowest average student grocery bill per month in the UK

Students in Bournemouth have the highest average monthly spend on food of all UK universities, at £140.90 per month. This is around 5% more than those at Oxford, and 9% more than Cambridge.

In terms of the lowest average grocery bill, those studying in Leicester and York typically spend between £85 and £87 a month on their food shopping. This is almost two-thirds (65%) of what the average Bournemouth University student spends on their grocery bills each month.

A breakdown of the highest and lowest average monthly spend on alcohol for UK students

Pictogram showing the highest and lowest average monthly spend on alcohol for UK students

Overall, average student spending per month on alcohol dropped by almost a third (29%) between 2022 and 2023.

Another fact revealed by Natwest’s report was that Liverpool students are the biggest spenders on alcohol (£52.97 a month). This is 52% more than the national average figure of £30.96.

Students in Leicester have the lowest average monthly spend on alcohol at £14.40 a month – less than a third compared to students in Liverpool.

A breakdown of the highest and lowest average monthly spend on takeaways for UK students

Pictogram showing the highest and lowest average monthly spend on takeaways for UK students

In terms of average student monthly spending on takeaways, those in Glasgow have the highest typical amount at £50.50 per month. This is almost double the national average figure of £28.80 per student per month.

Whereas, York students spend an average of £16.41 on takeaways each month – around a third compared to Glasgow students.

Home insurance normally covers items up to the value of £1,000-£1,500 against fire, theft, damage, or loss. But this can vary depending on the insurer and policy details.

The National Student Accommodation Survey 2023 found that 1 in 20 students have experienced a break-in while at university, so it’s worth making sure your valuables are covered while away from home.

According to our collection of UK home insurance statistics, this figure for UK adults is around 1.2%. This suggests students are around 4 times more likely to be burgled than the general UK adult population.

According to Confused.com data, the average cost of student contents insurance in 2023 is £66.55 per year (based on quotes between February and June 2023).

But, your insurance price can be influenced by:

  1. The area you live in
  2. Whether you have any higher-value items on your policy
  3. Whether you use items away from home

For example, the average cost of student contents insurance with a high-value listed item was £77 per year between February and June 2023. Policies with non-high value items, which were only used in student accommodation, had an average price of £70.39, compared to £82 for those using items away from home.

According to UK contents insurance statistics, a typical student could easily have more than £3,000 worth of possessions when they head off to university. Finding the right cover is, therefore, important if students are to be adequately protected against loss, damage, and theft while away from home.

Between 7-14 August 2023, we surveyed 2,000 adults with an undergraduate degree, who lived in private accommodation during their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year of university.

The aim was to find out their experiences of student contents insurance while at university.

Our main findings show that:

  • A quarter (25%) had possessions stolen while living in private accommodation at uni
  • The most commonly stolen item from students was money (33%)
  • Almost 6 in 10 students (59%) didn’t have contents insurance while at uni
  • Half of students (50%) wished they had taken out contents insurance in order to receive financial compensation for stolen items
  • Over half (52%) didn’t know what contents insurance was when they went to university

Before taking out student contents insurance, it’s worth using a contents calculator, to work out the estimated cost of your items and get the policy that is right for you.

Most commonly stolen items at university

A third (33%) of students surveyed claim to have had money stolen from them while at university.

This is followed by:

  • Almost a quarter of students (24%) who have had clothes stolen
  • More than a fifth (22%) who have been victims of phone theft at university

Infographic showing the number of students who have had money stolen at uni

A breakdown of most commonly stolen items for university students

Item Percentage of students who had this item stolen
Money
33%
Clothes
24%
Phone
22%
Laptop
18%
Textbooks
16%
Jewellery
16%
Tablet / iPad
15%
Bike
14%
Camera
13%
Sports equipment
10%
Speakers
10%
Scooter
7%
Musical instrument
7%
Montior
7%
Other
14%
Can't remember
3%

(Source: Confused.com survery, 2023)

Around 1 in 5 students (18%) admit to having a laptop stolen over the course of their study, with slightly less reporting the theft of textbooks and jewellery (both 16%).

For more information, check out our guide on how to keep your possessions covered in shared accommodation while at university.

Most common reasons for not taking out student contents insurance

According to our survey, almost 3 in 5 students (59%) don’t have contents insurance while at university.

Infographic showing the percentage of students who didn't know they needed contents insurance at uni

A breakdown of the main reasons why students didn’t choose contents insurance while at university

Reason Percentage of students who selected this response Number of respondents
I didn't know I needed it
40%
474
I didn't feel the need to protect my things
32%
377
It was too expensive
28%
328
I didn't know I could get a student contents insurance policy
28%
326
I didn't know where to buy it
12%
140
Someone else in my accomodation had a policy which I thought covered me
7%
82
Other reason
3%
30
Not sure / no reason in particular
6%
69
Number of respondents
 
1,185

(Source: Confused.com survery, 2023)

Of the 2,000 students surveyed, just over a quarter (26%) wished they had taken out contents insurance while at university, with two-thirds (66%) stating they didn’t.

A breakdown of the main reasons students gave for wishing they had taken out contents insurance while at university

  Percentage of students who selected this response Number of respondents
To receive financial compensation for my possessions that were stolen
50%
153
For general peace of mind
33%
101
To receive financial compensation for my possessions that were damaged / broken
27%
83
To get new replacement items for my possessions that were stolen
25%
75
To get new replacement items for my possessions that were damaged / broken
24%
72
Other reason
1%
2
Not sure / no reason in particular
1%
3
Number of respondents
 
305

(Source: Confused.com survery, 2023)

Most students take out contents insurance for financial compensation for possessions that were stolen (50%).

A third (33%) of students wanted peace of mind. Just over a quarter (27%) wanted financial compensation for possessions that were broken/damaged.

A breakdown of how many students knew what contents insurance was when they moved into private accommodation

Response Percentage of students who chose this response Number of respondents
Yes - I did know what it was when I moved intro private accomodation
48%
964
No - I didn't know what it was when I moved into private accommodation but I do know now
46%
912
No - I didn't know what it was when I moved into private accomodation and I still don't know
6%
124
Number of respondents
 
2,000

(Source: Confused.com survey, 2023)

Fewer than half (48%) of students surveyed claimed to know what contents insurance was before they moved into private accommodation while at university.

A similar percentage (46%) claimed to not know at the time, but do now.

Student contents insurance statistics by age group

Of the 2,000 students surveyed, around a quarter (24.7%) admitted they had been a victim of theft while at university.

Infographic showing the percentage of students who have been victims of theft while at uni

A breakdown of university student theft statistics by age group as to whether students were a victim of theft while at university

Response Number of respondents 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 44-64 65+
Yes
494
86
190
135
60
17
6
Prefer not to say
3
0
1
1
1
0
0
No
1,438
149
364
440
230
136
119
Not sure / can't remember
65
9
18
25
6
3
4
Number of respondents
2,000
244
573
601
297
156
129

(Source: Confused.com survey, 2023)

When broken down by age group, students aged 25-34 tend to report more incidents of theft than any other age group. In total, of the 494 reported thefts from our survey, almost 2 in 5 (38%) of those affected were from this age bracket.

Overall, there were around twice as many reported incidents of theft for those aged 25-34. This is compared to the 18-24 age bracket (38% vs 17%, respectively).

A breakdown of most commonly stolen items for university students by age group

Bar chart showing most commonly stolen items for university students by age group

Item Total number of reported thefts 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 44-64 65+
Money
162
26
64
44
15
8
5
Clothes
117
18
52
28
12
5
2
Phones
110
17
54
27
7
2
3
Laptop
89
15
41
28
5
0
0
Jewellery
81
14
37
15
9
5
1

(Source: Confused.com survey, 2023)

Of the five most commonly stolen items:

    2 in 5 (40%) students aged 25-34 had money stolen, compared to around 1 in 4 (27%) for those between 35 and 44
  • Less than half (44%) aged 25-34 had clothes stolen, compared to less than 1 in 4 (24%) for those 35-44 years old

A breakdown of age groups and whether they took out contents insurance as a student while at university

Response Number of respondents 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 44-64 65+
Yes
635
99
190
184
101
41
20
No
1,185
129
339
359
169
97
91
Not sure / can't remember
180
16
44
58
27
18
17
Number of respondents
2,000
244
573
601
297
156
129

(Source: Confused.com surbey, 2023)

Overall, just over half (54%) of students surveyed took out contents insurance while at university.

Generally speaking, the younger age groups were more likely to take out contents insurance within their age group (41% of 18-24-year-olds, down to 16% of the over 65s). Naturally, there is an expected difference in these results as university students tend to be from younger age brackets.

But, of all those who did opt for contents insurance while at uni, just 16% were aged 18-24, with just under a third (30%) aged 24-35 making up the highest percentage.

Student contents insurance statistics by gender

Our survey results suggest that females are twice as likely to experience theft while at university compared to males. In total, almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents who were victims of theft at university were female, compared to around 35% who were male.

Infographic showing the percentage of females and males who are victims of theft while at uni

A breakdown of reported university student theft statistics by gender

Response Total number of respondents Female Male non-binary or alternative identity
Yes
494
317
176
1
Prefer not to say
3
1
2
0
No
1,438
969
468
1
Not sure / can't remember
65
50
15
0
Total number of respondents
2,000
1,337
661
2

(Source: Confused.com survey, 2023)

Of the 5 most commonly stolen items at university, females were:

  • 1.5 times more likely to report the theft of money (60% vs 40%)
  • Nearly twice as likely to be victims of clothing theft (65% vs 35%)
  • 1.5 times more likely to have a phone/laptop stolen than males (60% vs 40%)
  • 2.5 times more likely to have jewellery stolen compared to males (72% vs 28%)
Item Total number of reported thefts Female Male Non-binary or alternative identity
Money
162
96
65
1
Clothes
117
76
41
0
Phone
110
65
45
0
Laptop
89
53
36
0
Jewellery
81
58
23
0

(Source: Confused.com survey, 2023)

Of the 2,000 students surveyed in our study, fewer than a third (31.75%) took out contents insurance while at university.

A breakdown of genders and whether they took out contents insurance as a student while at university

Response Total number of respondents Female Male Non-binary or alternative identity
Yes
625
405
229
1
No
1,185
800
384
1
Not sure / can't remember
180
132
48
0
Number of respondents
2,000
1,337
661
2

(Source: Confused.com survey, 2023)

When broken down by gender:

  • Within the male students surveyed, 34.6% of them took out contents insurance compared to 30.3% for females.
  • But, of the 635 students who did have contents insurance at university, almost two-thirds (63.8%) were female with 36.1% male.

Student contents insurance statistics by UK region

Of the 494 reported cases of theft while at university, the largest percentage came from students in the East of England (26.5%), followed by London (20%).

A breakdown of university student theft statistics by UK region

Shaded UK map showing university student theft statistics by UK region

Region Yes Prefer not to say No Not sure / can't remember Total number of respondents
East Midlands
25
0
86
4
115
East of England
131
0
187
5
323
London
87
0
295
9
391
North East
10
0
38
2
50
North West
47
0
143
4
194
Northern Ireland
6
0
34
7
47
Scotland
49
0
107
8
164
South East
42
1
196
16
255
South West
29
1
97
4
131
Wales
15
0
56
2
73
West Midlands
29
0
92
4
125
Yorkshire and The Humber
24
1
107
0
132
Total number of respondents
494
3
1,438
65
2,000

(Source: Confused.com survey, 2023)

The fewest number of university thefts were reported in Northern Ireland (1.21%). But, these students only made up 2.35% of the total sample.

Between universities, around 2 in 5 (40.6%) students from East of England universities have experienced theft while at uni. This is almost double the amount compared to London, where reported thefts are around 1 in 5 (22.3%) students affected.

A breakdown of most commonly stolen items for university students by UK region

Bar chart showing most commonly stolen items for university students by UK region

Region Money Clothes Phone Laptop Jewellery
East Midlands
9
11
5
3
6
East of England
36
15
31
21
8
London
29
20
28
18
17
North East
5
3
5
1
1
North West
16
15
8
11
14
Northern Ireland
1
0
1
0
1
Scotland
16
20
9
9
7
South East
11
5
9
7
4
South West
12
11
3
3
4
Wales
7
2
2
4
5
West Midlands
13
11
4
5
9
Yorkshire and The Humber
7
4
5
7
5
Total number of respondents
162
117
110
89
81

(Source: Confused.com survey, 2023)

With 162 reported cases, money is the most commonly stolen item across UK universities, accounting for around a third (32.8%) of all reported student thefts.

Of these, around a fifth (22.2%) came from East of England students, with 18% from those studying in London.

Our survey also shows that:

  • Around a third (34%) of all clothes stolen came from either London or Scottish universities (both 17%)
  • Just over a quarter (28%) of all mobile phone thefts were from those studying in the East of England
  • Just under a quarter (23.6%) of all reported stolen laptops came from uni students in the East of England
  • Around a fifth (21%) of all student jewellery thefts were based in the capital, followed by the North West (17.2%)

A breakdown of UK regions and whether students took out contents insurance while at university

Region Yes No Not sure / can't remember Total number of respondents
East Midlands
38
67
10
115
East of England
146
160
17
323
London
101
256
34
391
North East
14
33
3
50
North West
60
115
19
194
Northern Ireland
8
33
6
47
Scotland
57
95
12
164
South East
70
151
34
255
South West
43
77
11
131
Wales
20
48
5
73
West Midlands
45
72
8
125
Yorkshire and The Humber
33
78
21
132
Total number of respondents
635
1,185
180
2,000

(Source: Confused.com survey, 2023)

According to our survey, students studying in the East of England are most likely to take out contents insurance while at university (45%). This was followed by those in the West Midlands (36%) and Scotland (35%).

But, fewer than a fifth (17%) of students in Northern Ireland opt for contents insurance while at university – the lowest figure across all UK regions.

Data from Natwest reveals more than a third (34%) of UK students admit trying to budget while at university, but don’t always stick to it. Almost a quarter (23%) have a careful budget plan and track their finances and spending regularly.

A breakdown of student attitudes towards money while at university

Attitude Percentage of students (%)
I try to budget, but don't always stick to it
34%
I budget carefully and keep track of what I spend
23%
I feel confident about budgeting and or managing money
21%
I don’t budget, but I am not frivolous with money
14%
I overspend due to pressure on missing out on things
5%
I don’t consider what I’m spending at all – I’ll think about it later
2%
I have no confidence in my ability to manage my finances
2%

(Source: Natwest)

A tiny percentage (2%) of students surveyed by Natwest admit to not considering their spending while at university. An equal percentage also lack the confidence to manage their finances independently.

A breakdown of how UK students rank their stress levels when it comes to money management

Score (how students rate their stress levels when it comes to money management, with 0 being low stress and 10 being high stress) Percentage of students (%)
0
3%
1
2%
2
5%
3
8%
4
8%
5
14%
6
19%
7
18%
8
12%
9
6%
10
7%

(Source: Natwest)

When asked to rate their stress levels in terms of money management, more than a third (35%) of students provided a score of 6 or 7. This indicates some mild stress when it comes to managing their finances at university.

Twice as many students selected a score of 10 (maximum stress) compared to 0 (no stress), at 7% and 3%, respectively.

A breakdown of the most and least stressed students when it comes to money management at university

Bar chart showing most and least stressed students when it comes to money management at university

Around 1 in 4 (24%) UK students admit to finding money management stressful. This is particularly the case in Bournemouth (40%) and Lincoln (35%).

Overall, stress from managing money has increased by more than a quarter (28%) since 2022.

The Natwest survey also found that:

  • Just 5% of students feel their university supports them with money management – with just 2% of those at Coventry stating a lack of financial support for students.
  • Around 2 in 5 (40%) students felt their university does nothing to help with the student cost of living crisis.
  • Bournemouth had the highest percentage (58%) who thought this– 45% more than the UK average figure.

A breakdown of student attitudes towards savings while at university

Proportional bubble chart showing student attitudes towards savings while at university

In terms of how UK students save while at university, more than a quarter (28%) will transfer money into a traditional savings account. A fifth (20%) of students admit to transferring money in one-off payments on an irregular basis.

That said, around 1 in 4 (24%) UK students claim to not save anything while at university.

A breakdown of the largest and smallest average total savings per month from UK students by university

University Average monthly savings per student (£)
Cambridge
£250
Edinburgh
£150
Manchester
£150
UK student average
£100.95
Liverpool
£55
York
£50
Nottingham
£50

(Source: Natwest)

In 2023, the average monthly savings per student was just over £100, according to the latest Student Living Index from Natwest.

Typically, students in Cambridge save the most each month (around 1.5 times the national average) and 5 times more than students in Nottingham and York.

A breakdown of the measures taken in 2023 by UK students to reduce spending during the cost of living crisis

Change made to lifestyle Percentage of students who did this in 2023 (%)
Reduced the number of times you ordered things online
47%
Reduced the number of nights out
35%
Reduced the number of meals per day
26%
Choose less expensive mode of transport
20%
Got a job
24%
Asked parents for more income
12%
Increased work hours
18%
Cancelled streaming subscriptions
12%
Reduced the amount of heating used
23%
I have not made any changes
12%
Other
2%

(Source: Natwest)

In light of the cost of living crisis, UK students have made a number of changes to their spending habits in 2023, with:

  • Almost half (47%) reducing their frequency of online shopping
  • More than a third (35%) cutting down on nights out
  • More than 1 in 4 (26%) students have reduced the number of meals per day in order to save on grocery bills.

Incidentally, around 1 in 10 (12%) students haven’t made any changes to their lifestyle in order to cope with the cost of living crisis.

A breakdown of the extent to which students have felt like leaving their course due to financial pressures of university

Response Percentage of students (%)
Yes, I have considered leaving, but I’ll carry on/find a way to manage
21%
Yes, I have considered leaving due to high cost of living
2%
No, I haven’t considered leaving, but it is a concern for me
29%
No, I have not considered leaving
49%

(Source: Natwest)

When surveyed by Natwest,

  • Almost half (49%) of students claim that financial pressures haven’t caused them to consider leaving university early.
  • Around 1 in 5 (21%) admit they have considered leaving, but will find a way to cope.
  • Less than a third (29%) said they’re concerned by financial pressures while at university.

In terms of the future, 86% of students expect the cost of living crisis to rise further in the next academic year. Less than half (46%) expect a rise of up to 15% between 2023 and 2024, with a third (33%) anticipating an increase between 16% and 30% in the average student cost of living.

Does a student loan count as income?

Yes, student loans are classified as a source of non-taxable income. This means any money you receive as part of the student finance system (i.e. tuition fee and maintenance loans) will not be taxed. But, for the purposes of Universal Credit, student maintenance loans are counted as a source of income (even if you’re eligible and don’t take it).

Do students get a cost of living payment?

Yes. Cost of living support for students comes mainly in the form of student loans, grants, and/or bursaries. Some universities, educational trusts, and charities also offer financial support for students who are struggling with living costs while at university.

How much maintenance loan should students get?

The amount of maintenance loan students get depends on their household income, where they’re studying, and where they normally live. In 2023, the average maintenance loan for students was £5,820 for the year. But, this can vary depending on where they’re studying.

What’s the household income threshold for student finance in the UK?

The household income threshold for student finance in the UK varies depending on where you’re from in the UK and where you’re studying. For example, students in England wishing to live at home while at uni, and from a household earning £58,291 get a minimum maintenance loan of £3,698. This figure rises to £4,651 for students living away from home, studying outside of London, with household earnings of at least £62,343.

Do parents' savings affect student finance in the UK?

Yes, in a way. The amount of money in your parents’ savings doesn’t directly affect the amount of money you’re eligible for. But, any interest earned from savings must be declared as unearned income.

Student finance classifies household income as any money you get from your own savings, investments, or property, like dividends or rent. It may also include your parent(s) or partner’s income, depending on who you live with at the time of applying. That said, all student finance applications are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Does working part-time affect student finance in the UK?

In theory, working part-time shouldn’t affect your student finance application, providing your job isn’t your only source of income. Student finance is mainly affected by your parents’ income, where you’re studying in the UK, and your residential status.

How much is student contents insurance?

As of 2023, the average cost of student contents insurance was £66.55, based on Confused.com data.

https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/the-cost-of-living-crisis/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/306648/inflation-rate-consumer-price-index-cpi-united-kingdom-uk

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/educationandchildcare/bulletins/costoflivingandhighereducationstudentsengland/30januaryto13february2023

https://www.natwest.com/life-moments/students-and-graduates/student-living-index.html

https://www.savethestudent.org/accommodation/national-student-accommodation-survey-2023.html

https://www.confused.com/home-insurance/student

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/get-support/information-for-your-situation/full-time-students-and-benefits/student-income

https://thinkstudent.co.uk/does-a-student-loan-count-as-income-in-the-uk

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/cost-of-living-support-for-students

Student contents insurance survey, Confused.com, 2023

A survey of 2,000 UK adults with an undergraduate degree, who lived in private accommodation while at university (either 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year). Data collected between 7-14 August 2023.

Share this article