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Durham revealed as UK’s best value university

Joanna Faith
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Joanna Faith

Durham is the best value university in the UK, according to new study.

Comparison site MoneySuperMarket analysed the country’s top 20 universities, taking into account the cost of accommodation, crime rate, cost of home and car insurance, and the price of a pint at each location, to create a ranking of the best value places to study.

Durham University took the top spot for best value, while Exeter ranked second. Royal favourite St Andrews – which was ranked number one in 2014’s study – fell to third place.

Universities in London, including UCL, LSE and Imperial College, were unveiled as the worst-value places to study, with Oxford and Birmingham University also featuring in the bottom five.

University of life

Students heading to Lancaster later this month will benefit from the cheapest home contents insurance at £58 a year, while Warwick boasts the best value accommodation, costing just £93 a week.

Undergrads in London will unsurprisingly face higher costs. Those studying at UCL will pay a staggering £185 a week for accommodation and students at Imperial College will pay the highest annual home contents insurance premiums at £106.

Undergrads in Durham will find the cheapest pint (£2.10), while those studying close to the capital in Surrey will pay the most (£5.25). Loughborough offers the lowest-cost car insurance at just £596 annually – a stark contrast to those attending university in London, who will again see higher costs, with car insurance costing between £1,457 to £1,617 annually.

University crime rates

MoneySuperMarket also analysed crime rates at the universities. The rate of car insurance claims made for crime was highest in Edinburgh – 20.8 per 1,000 claims, and lowest in Loughborough (4.3 per 1,000). Leeds ranked highest for claims for theft from the home, with a rate of 37.8 per 1,000 claims, while students at St Andrews are less likely to make a claim on their home insurance for burglary, with just 6.5 per 1000 claims made for theft in the Scottish town.

Kevin Pratt, insurance expert at the comparison site, said: “Going to university is life changing, not just for students, but for their parents and families too – and managing the financial commitment is a major part of the steep learning curve. Although tuition fees don’t vary a huge amount among the top universities, the cost of accommodation, bills and even the price of a pint differ dramatically.

“It makes sense for anyone attending university to  think about how to make the most of their money – and that means seeking out the best value deals for their car and contents insurance, as well as tracking down the best student bank account.

“Our research found that Durham University gives undergraduates the best deal on living costs, but with average debt totalling £40,000 for most graduates these days, budgeting and smart money management has never been so important, wherever you decide to study.”