Leicester Crowned in Best Value UK Universities
2nd January 2014
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Article written by Alex B and uploaded by Sally M

Leicester is well known for its culture, acres of wild moorlands and of course, as the home of Gary Lineker, but can now add another accolade to its name, as itâs been named one of the best value universities in the UK1. The major study was carried out by online cash payment provider Ukash, in order to make it easier for students to see where money goes the furthest at the UKâs top 20 universities, ahead of the deadline for applications to UCAS (15th January 2014).

Ukash, which offers a prepaid MasterCard to help students budget and control their spend more effectively, compared the cost of nine key living expenses ranging from a pint of lager and car insurance to tuition fees and rent. The findings identified Edinburgh Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh and St. Andrews universities as the three cheapest to attend, with students needing to pay £9,587 each year - a whopping £10,000 less than the most expensive universities identified by the study - in addition to cheaper annual gym membership, averaging £96, and free entry into events at the Students Union.

The University of Kent ranked fourth in the cost league table, helped by cheaper and more flexible tuition fees dependent on degree course, while a comparatively low average annual rent (£3,108) at the University of East Anglia landed it in fifth place.

The ten least expensive universities, and their total cost of living over three years, are:

1. Edinburgh Heriot-Watt University £28,761

2. University of Edinburgh £31,210

3. University of St. Andrews £33,603

4. University of Kent £35,344

5. University of East Anglia £41,604

6. University of Birmingham £41,727

7. University of Warwick £41,790

8. University of York £42,793

9. University of Leicester £43,139

10. University of Lancaster £43,938

Students who choose to attend the most expensive top universities, including London School of Economics, University College London and Imperial College London, are likely to fork out more than double the amount being paid by those at the cheapest universities. London School of Economics (LSE) - which ranked as the most expensive university - has an annual living cost of £19,717, compared to £9,587 at Edinburgh Heriot-Watt. Over their three-year degree course, undergraduates at LSE can expect to spend £59,152 on tuition fees and living costs. This increased cost of living is due in particular to markedly higher annual rent (£8,710), car insurance (£1,054) and entry into student events (£120) than at all other universities. Each of the five most expensive universities, also including Cambridge and Oxford, incur annual rent costs of over £5,000, topping £7,000 when located in London. The ten most expensive universities, and their total cost of living over three years, are:

1. London School of Economics £59,152 2. University College London £53,954 3. Imperial College London £53,822 4. Oxford University £50,540 5. Cambridge University £47,997 6. Exeter £45,291 7. Bath £45,199 8. Durham £44,459 9. Surrey £44,264 10. Loughborough £43,965

Miranda McLean, Marketing Director at Ukash, commented on the results: "We produced this cost comparison study for students who want to go to a top university but also don't want it to cost the earth. We were surprised to find such staggering differences in costs, with factors such as car insurance, rent and tuition fees varying greatly depending on where you study. With many students needing to complete their UCAS application on or before 15th January 2014, we have also developed an online tool that makes it easy for students to compare the cost of living at the UKs top 20 universities. Students and parents can view the full range of research data and use the interactive cost comparison tool online at http://www.ukash.com/costcomparison.

The Ukash prepaid MasterCard is easy to top up with cash online by purchasing a Ukash code at over 50,000 outlets in the UK. It can be loaded with up to £5,000 and spent anywhere MasterCard is accepted worldwide. For more information visit Ukash.com. Find out more about Ukash on Facebook at Facebook.com/PayWithUkash or Twitter at Twitter.com/PayWithUkash

1 Statistics from The Guardian 2014 University Guide League Table http://www.theguardian.com/education/table/2013/jun/03/university-league-table-2014 Research was carried out October 2013, using the following criteria: - Branded hoody costs sourced from associated Student Union websites - Car insurance costs sourced from student insurer Endsleigh, based on a 2010 Ford Fiesta driven by a 19-year-old student, kept at university halls of residence in close proximity to the Student Union http://www.endsleigh.co.uk/Pages/Home.aspx - Gym membership costs based on annual membership at the university gym or gym in close proximity to the Student Union - Pint costs based on the cheapest standard pint of lager at the Student Union bar, at a rate of three pints per week - Event entry costs based on the typical entry cost for a student at the university, attending two events per month - Pizza costs sourced from Just-Eat, based on the average cost of a small (9-11â) margherita pizza, eaten twice per month http://www.just-eat.co.uk/ - Contents insurance costs sourced from student insurer Endsleigh, based on £750 worth of laptop, gadget and mobile phone cover, for a student living off campus http://www.endsleigh.co.uk/Pages/Home.aspx - Annual tuition fees sourced from associated Student Union websites, based on the average annual cost for a full-time home or EU undergraduate student starting in or after 2013/14 For any media enquiries, please contact Nathan Brush (nathan@shackletonpr.co.uk) on 0113 887 3293 or Alex Blakelock (Alex@shackletonpr.co.uk) on 0113 887 3292

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