Oxford students face highest living costs

first_imgOxford students face the highest weekly living costs in the UK, a study has found.The Student Living Index, released annually by NatWest, found that an average week in the city costs students £238.38. Birmingham offers the lowest weekly living cost, at £171.14.The cities were ranked according to calculations made using average local weekly student expenditure and average local weekly income for working students. This suggests that the figure could be skewed by the fact that Oxford students do not get jobs during term time, unlike students from Oxford Brookes. Students at the city’s main university may therefore face higher living costs than this figure suggests.While London students receive a larger maintenance loan than students in the rest of the country, which can amount to up to £4,988 per year, Oxford students receive no such subsidy, despite enduring the highest living costs.Owen Evans, St Anne’s JCR President, expressed concern at the findings, “Worryingly, the data published by Natwest indicates that the average annual cost of living in Oxford is £5,721.12, which renders the full maintenance student loan of £3,564 pitifully insufficient.“I feel that this problem is of greatest concern for the silent majority of Oxford students, who fall into the bracket between those who qualify for a grant and Oxford Opportunity Bursary, and those whose parents can fully support them through university. It is these students who compile the most debt and feel the squeeze of battels, fees and living costs greatest. This issue urgently needs addressing, especially with talk of a hike in the cost of tuition fees.”Fortunately, for those in receipt of the Oxford Opportunity Bursary, the apparently high cost of living in Oxford isn’t always felt. Natalie Theodoulou, a second year chemist, feels that she is adequately covered by it, “Compared to other places in the country Oxford is very expensive, however, I am fortunate enough for the university to provide me with a bursary which makes it a lot easier!”There are even some who do not receive a Bursary who feel that Oxford is not as expensive as the study claims. “I’ve never really thought of it as being too expensive,” said Paddy Unwin, a second year mathematician. “I get by okay.”There is, however, by no means a consensus on this issue. Olly Richards, a historian from St. Anne’s commented, “Oxford is certainly a very expensive place to live, and to live within a reasonable budget requires substantial concessions to be made. If a student were forced to live out they would either have to live in the prohibitively expensive Jericho or the inconvenient Cowley.“An extension of the student loan [as for London students] should be considered, especially as this is a very low risk option as Oxford has one of the highest post-university employment rates in the country.”Last week, the University’s new Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton called for higher bursaries to prevent poorer students being priced out of university.“We must take great care not to fail the students [by] allowing a degradation of the quality of education that is provided by the great universities of Great Britain,” he said. “But also not to fail them in the commitment that the great universities must make to any student who has the academic credentials, the academic potential to attend. The commitment that we must make to them [is] that they will attend Oxford irrespective of their economic circumstances.“Oxford has a very generous bursary offer, but obviously as this debate unfolds we’ve got to reinforce that and quite frankly improve it.”last_img read more

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