Students becoming stretched by higher rental costs

Intense demand for accommodation coupled with growing rental costs risk impacting the student experience, especially for those from a poorer background, analysis by PwC and StudentCrowd has found.

The average annual rent for private student accommodation outside London for the next academic year is £10,227, outstripping the maximum maintenance loan of £9,978.

This is resulting in more students seeking part-time work to fund their university studies.

As it stands less than half (48%) of student demand is met by purpose-built accommodation, as student numbers swell.

Damien Ashford, education leader at PwC, said: “Many students may face limited choice in relation to the mode and location of their studies, coupled with reduced access, choice of location and quality of accommodation they can afford.

“This may add to existing concerns over students’ mental health and social wellbeing, and more students are likely to be unable to manage financially.

“The most disadvantaged students will be hit hardest, leading to narrowing access to higher education and increasing dropout rates.”

Universities across Glasgow have seen around 18,500 more students since the 2019/20 academic year (AY), and Bristol and Manchester have seen increases of 10,500 and 10,000 students respectively.

Durham, Southampton, and Glasgow have the lowest PBSA availability for the 2023/24 AY, with Durham already seeing 86% of buildings completely unavailable as of 25 May 2023.

This means that from a total of seven PBSA buildings in Durham, only one had at least one room available in May this year.