Affordability Rankings: UK’s Most Popular Universities with the Cheapest Student Accommodation

Sep 6, 2023 | Advice

As a new academic year dawns upon us, eager students across the UK are gearing up to embark on their university journeys. However, their excitement is met with a looming concern, securing suitable and affordable student accommodation. With the relentless surge in living expenses and a growing scarcity of dormitory options, students are grappling with unprecedented challenges even before they set foot in their lecture halls.

To address these pressing concerns, here at Cardinal Steels we have meticulously compiled the ‘Student Accommodation Report.’ Delving into the intricate web of student housing costs, shedding light on the affordability landscape at the nation’s most sought-after universities. Among the remarkable findings, Edinburgh, Scotland’s vibrant capital, emerges as the ultimate haven for budget-conscious students, boasting the most economical dormitory options.

Join us as we explore the dynamic world of student accommodations and discover the institutions that offer both quality education and affordable lodging in Cardinal Steels’ insightful report.

Top 5 Cheapest University Student Accommodations from Most Popular List

1. Edinburgh – £60.73 per week (£2,915 estimated annually)

Edinburgh, the illustrious capital of Scotland, surprises all with its incredibly budget-friendly student accommodations. At the renowned Edinburgh University, students can secure a twin room at either Kitchener House or David Horn accommodations for just £60.73 per week, making it an estimated annual cost of £2,915. This attractive package includes shared bathroom facilities, self-catering options, and all utility bills covered. David Horn accommodations are conveniently located within a 30-minute walk from George Square, while Kitchener House is a slightly further 40-minute walk away.

2. Northumbria (Newcastle) – £78 per week (£3,744 estimated annually)

The University of Northumbria, nestled in the vibrant city of Newcastle, takes the second spot on our list, offering student accommodations at a mere £78 per week, totalling an estimated annual expense of £3,744. iQ Stephenson House is the go-to choice for budget-conscious students, conveniently situated within walking distance of the university. Their bronze package includes a private bedroom with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.

3. Sheffield Hallam – £80 per week (£3,360 estimated annually)

Sheffield Hallam University is the pride of Yorkshire, claiming the third spot on our list, with student accommodations priced at just £80 per week. Norfolk Gardens, a mere 15-minute walk from the city centre, beckons with its affordable living options. All rooms feature a personal sink, with access to shared bathroom facilities. Additionally, residents can enjoy their private garden and courtyard area. The £80 option offers a cosy single standard (sink) bungalow.

4. Bristol – £83.13 per week (£3,990 estimated annually)

Bristol University secures the fourth position, offering accommodations at £83.13 per week, making it an estimated annual cost of £3,990. Manor Hall, located just 0.7 miles from the campus, is a self-catered facility that caters to budget-conscious students. The twin room with a basin is the most economical option, spanning a tenancy length of 38 weeks.

5. Leeds – £88 per week (£4,400 estimated annually)

Rounding out our list is the University of Leeds, the second Yorkshire-based institution, offering budget accommodations at £88 per week. Grayson Heights, managed by Unipol Student Homes, strives to make living affordable for all students. Situated just a 10-minute walk from the heart of Headingley and well-connected to public transport for easy access to the city centre, Grayson Heights exclusively offers self-catering options.

Top 5 Expensive University Student Accommodations from Most Popular List

1. King’s College London – £169 per week (£8,112 estimated annually)

As expected, the bustling metropolis of London dominates the chart of costliest student accommodations, and King’s College London claims the top spot. Renowned for its high attendance rates, King’s College offers its most economical housing option at a rate of £155 per week. Nestled amidst the vibrant surroundings of Guy’s Campus, Wolfson House is conveniently located between London Bridge and Borough Market.

2. University College London – £145.39 per week (£6,886 estimated annually)

University College London (UCL) proudly holds the distinction of being the most attended university in the UK, boasting a staggering 46,830 students. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that their accommodations are on the pricier side. Max Ryane House, part of UCL’s housing offerings, requires a weekly rent of £145.39 for a single room without an en-suite. Beyond the accommodation, students can enjoy communal spaces like a common room, music room, and even a farm.

3. Coventry – £140 per week (£6,720 estimated annually)

Stepping out of London, Coventry University becomes the first non-London institution to grace the list of expensive accommodations. The cheapest undergraduate housing option at Coventry University comes with a price tag of £140 per week, equating to an annual expense of £6,720. Godiva Place, just a 5-minute stroll from the university, offers shared bedrooms with private bathrooms and kitchens, conveniently situated across the road from a supermarket and local amenities.

4. University of Hertfordshire – £114.59 per week (£5,500 estimated annually)

The University of Hertfordshire, ranked fourth in terms of attendance, presents Collage Lane accommodation as its most budget-friendly offering. For a weekly fee of £114.59, students can secure a Twin en-suite room complete with Wi-Fi and a TV aerial socket.

5. The University of Glasgow – £114.38 per week (£5,490 estimated annually)

Representing Scotland, The University of Glasgow concludes our list of costliest accommodations. At Cairncross House, students can acquire the most affordable housing option, priced at £114.38 per week. This accommodation is conveniently located just a 15-minute walk away from the city campus, offering both comfort and accessibility.

20 Most Popular Universities

Rank University Total Students
1 University College London 46,830
2 The University of Manchester 46,410
3 The University of Glasgow 42,980
4 King’s College London 41,490
5 The Nottingham Trent University 41465
6 The University of Edinburgh 41,250
7 Coventry University 38,190
8 University of Birmingham 37,990
9 University of Nottingham 37,260
10 The University of Leeds 37,190
11 University of the West of England, Bristol 37,170
12 The Manchester Metropolitan University 36,980
13 Anglia Ruskin University 35,195
14 Ulster University 34,550
15 Sheffield Hallam University 34,535
16 Cardiff University 33,985
17 University of Northumbria at Newcastle 32,570
18 The University of Exeter 32,465
19 University of Hertfordshire 31,940
20 The University of Bristol 31,485


Cheapest Rent For First Year Accommodation Per Week For These Highest Attended Universities

Rank University Price Of Cheapest Accommodation
1 The University of Edinburgh £60.73
2 University of Northumbria at Newcastle £78
3 Sheffield Hallam University £80
4 The University of Bristol £83.13
5 The University of Leeds £88
6 Ulster University £95
7 University of Birmingham £96
8 Anglia Ruskin University £96.46
9 The University of Exeter £105.91
10 University of the West of England, Bristol £109.42
11 The University of Manchester £110
12 The Manchester Metropolitan University £110
13 The Nottingham Trent University £111
14 University of Nottingham £112
15 Cardiff University £112.98
16 The University of Glasgow £114.38
17 University of Hertfordshire £114.59
18 Coventry University £140
19 University College London £145.39
20 King’s College London £155



Firstly, to source the most attended universities in the UK. We used HESA data and sorted it from high to low. We picked the top 20 universities for attendees.

After this, we looked at all these universities through the UCAS Find Accommodation section, that allows you to find accommodation for any UK university. We also checked each university’s website to find the cheapest option they provide (e.g. Edinburgh University). We put these into a table and ranked them from low to high. All the information about the student accommodation is also either UCAS or the university website.

When gathering these figures, they sometimes just had the annual price. For the weekly price, we divided the annual price by 12 (12 months in a year) and then divided that number by 4 (4 weeks in a month).

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