Bristol student halls of residence ranked among most expensive outside London – Bristol Live



Halls of residence in Bristol have been ranked among the most expensive outside of London – with students now expected to pay up to £8,000 for a room.

From this autumn, rooms in Bristol will cost up to £8,605 for the year – which is before any other living expenses, such as food and books, are paid for.

The most basic rooms are cheaper, but even many of these come in at above the basic maintenance loan of £4,054 for 2018/19.

New research has compared the costs of living in halls of residence buildings at universities across the UK – with Bristol ranked among the most expensive

A study by The Times has found at the 40 Russell Group and pre-1992 universities, almost half of the cheapest rooms on offer cost more than the basic maintenance loan.

The cheapest rooms at halls in Bristol cost £4,769 for the year, which is £700 more than the basic maintenance loan.

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The cheapest room at halls in Liverpool, meanwhile, cost £5,244, £5,195 at Durham and £4,180 at Bath.

Parents of students heading to university for the first time have described this shortfall as a “stealth tax”, with no clear guidance on how much they are expected to pay in order to cover their child’s accommodation.

Money saving expert Martin Lewis has urged parents of students going to university to start saving, to help them with accommodation costs (Image: ITV)

Personal finance expert Martin Lewis has warned parents to ignore tuition fees – which are taken care of by a loan of £9,250 to which all students are entitled – and instead focus on halls of residence costs, urging them to save in advance for when their child goes to university.

He told the paper: “My big message to parents is stop worrying about tuition fees and start saving in advance for a maintenance contribution.

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“You need to know that. Ministers refused to come clean about the financial burden on parents because it ‘scares the pants off middle England’.”

Most parents only discover their child’s accommodation bill – the single biggest living cost at university – once it is booked.

Student finance facts

The maximum universities can charge for tuition fees in 2018/19 is £9,250 a year
Full-time students starting in 2018 can apply for a max maintenance loan of£8,700 depending on household income (more for those in London)
The maintenance loan is not enough to live on for most students so you could need extra income or to learn to live on less
The average university graduate will be saddled with a student debt of around £50,000
You don’t start repaying until the April after graduation and once you start earning over £25,000 per year. Repayments are then 9% of anything above this.
After 30 years any outstanding student debt is written off
Interest is charged at the rate of inflation +3% pa whilst you are at university, which continues at interest plus 0-3% pa thereafter (depending on your salary)
Your student loan repayments are deducted from your paycheck by your employer
Maintenance Grants are still available for current students that started uni before 2016 (as they receive a smaller loan)
Other grants and funding are available for new starters in 2018 for those with disabilities or dependants, or from low-income backgrounds
There are differences between systems in England, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland
Whilst the cost of university education has tripled, students should be aware that what it costs and what you pay are likely to be very different

Source: Save The Student

Only students from the poorest backgrounds with a household income of below £25,000 are eligible for the highest award of £8,700 for those studying away from home outside London.

Students whose parents earn £62,000 or more between them are entitled to only £4,054 or £5,654 for London universities.

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Simon Bray, Director of Residential and Hospitality Services at the University of Bristol, said: “We appreciate that financial management can be difficult for all students, and that accommodation is one of the most significant costs that has to be met.

“To help with this, we have increased the number of accommodation bursaries available, with £200,000 available for the 2018/19 year, in addition to the range of financial packages available to support students from low-income households.

“There are also 400 rooms which are capped at a lower level ‘value’ rent. We ask students about the size of their budget when they apply for accommodation and last year 95 per cent of people were offered places within these budget limits.

“The average price of our accommodation is broadly similar to that charged by universities in other cities in the south of England and we benchmark it against commercial accommodation providers in Bristol to ensure it remains competitive.

The Print Hall building has been transformed into a student accommodation hub

“We don’t make a profit from our student rents; all income generated is used for operating, maintaining and improving the residences including catering, 24/7 pastoral and wellbeing support in residences, sports activities in halls, and the bus services, as well as maintenance and refurbishment. We aim to deliver a high-quality experience for students in University accommodation, both in terms of the physical environment as well as the range of services that support the students who live there.”

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, who was a government adviser when the loans regime was drawn up, said: “It is a large stealth tax that hits you just as you think your children are becoming independent adults.

“The problem is not that parents should contribute but the stealthiness. The average family, the squeezed middle, do not have a spare £4,000 lying around.”

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A Department for Education spokesperson said finance should “never be a barrier” to a young person’s education.

“We have increased the maximum grants and loans for students for the 2018-19 academic year, and those from the lowest-income households starting their courses this year will have access to the largest ever amounts of cash-in-hand support for their living costs,” the spokesperson added.