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 New research from Marbles.Com has found that in the top 50 Universities (according to, Lincoln provides students with the most affordable overall experience. Students either starting or returning to university in September can view how their institution ranks across 8 different metrics here.

 In 2017, attendees of Lancaster University are shown to have access to the cheapest pints (£2.80), while in Belfast, Queen’s students save the most money on taxis (£0.78 per km). The study carried out by also examined other factors rent prices, gym memberships and even the price of a kebab.

 When compared to a similar study in 2016, many universities moved up and down the rankings as northern institutions fared better on the whole than their southern, and specifically London-based, counterparts.

  1. Lincoln – Although it did not rank in the Top 50 on the University league tables, 2017 sees Lincoln as the highest-performing new entry and number-one overall. With £30 travel passes for the bus, cut-price pints (£3.10) and taxis for under a pound per km, Lincoln University gives a rounded approach to cheap living in the area.
  1. Strathclyde – Scotland’s highest entry has climbed 5 places in the ranks, scoring well on virtually every metric. The average gym membership sets students back a mere £7.58 per month opposed by their economical £4.47 kebab making the struggle with healthy-living that bit cheaper.
  1. Cardiff – With Swansea University in 19th place, Cardiff offers students crossing the border to Wales the best in terms of low-cost living. Out of all 50, Cardiff boasts the best deal for cinema tickets (£6.50).
  1. Queen’s, Belfast – As mentioned earlier, student’s at Queen’s can be ferried around for the least with taxi prices of only 78p per km. While they’ve dropped two places from 2016, Queen’s also claim the lowest weekly rent of the top 10 (£113)
  1. Leicester – If not for Lincoln, Leicester’s leapfrogging of Coventry would have made them the cheapest in the Midlands. But with the cheapest travel passes in the country (£29) and £3.10 pints, you won’t hear many Leicester undergraduates complaining.

Outside the top 5 there were a few shake-ups in the standings with both Newcastle and Aston rising at least 10 places to break into the top 10 for 2017. Former league-leaders Keele fell 10 places, possibly due to 28% rise in pint prices and £376 added onto the average yearly rent for students.

 Much like 2016,’s research this year did not reflect well in institutions in London. In the bottom 10 places, 9 were Universities based in the capital compared to those north of Coventry, which make up 90% of the top 10.

 Exorbitant rent prices of up to £232 a week (Kings College, London) are staggering when compared to cities like Edinburgh who scored best with a £102 weekly average.


 The infographic gives the reader a clear view of some of the costs attached to university life and how that looks comparatively in different areas of the UK. While universities like Cardiff and Southampton appear to resist trends,’s results show a glaring disparity between north and south.


 In order to determine where each University would rank, have used a weighted index to provide a score for each individual metric and then an overall index. The metrics include:

  • Weekly rent
  • Travel pass
  • Gym membership
  • Cinema
  • Pint
  • Kebab
  • Meal out for two
  • Taxi ride

The static infographic produced has all 50 Universities according to along the side of a map of the UK which positions each institute with a number demonstrating their rank. Below the map is a table that breaks down how each university performed across each metric and any change in position from the previous year.

 Data on accommodation and gym prices has been gathered from individual university websites. Other living data has been sourced from Numbeo, which is the world’s largest database for cost of living.

 Each university has been given a score out of 90. Each amenity is ranked out of 10 with the exception of accommodation, which is ranked out of 20 giving it a weighted index. Each location is then ranked from 1st to 50th based on its total score.

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