Students are travelling more than most commuters to get to university and spending 'millions' on transport as rising house prices push them further and further away from campus.
Nearly four in five students make a 22-mile round trip to attend lectures and tutorials - further than the typical commute, which the most recent figures show to be 8.9 miles. The average student who lives off campus spends around £600 a year travelling to and from university with those travelling 40 miles or more spend £100 a month. A fifth considering moving further out of town next year to save money, with students spending a collective £640m every year in commuting costs, according to research by Santander.
Hetal Parmar, head of banking at Santander, said: "Not all students can afford to live near their university and many face a time-consuming and costly commute.
"The cost of attending university puts most students under a great deal of financial pressure, so having to cover the rising cost of transport is likely to be a real burden."
Average rents in London range from £88 per week for a room in a shared house in Streatham to £136 per week in WC1, near University College, London's main campus. Private accommodation is even more pricey - UNITE student housing advertises studios near London South Bank University from £259 per week.
Michelle Highman, chief executive of money charity Credit Action, says there is a trend of creating "false expectation" as to what reasonable living accommodation looks like.
“If you want to see how consumerised higher education has become you only have to look at the range of amenities students are expected to pay for,” she says. “What you get for your money varies massively, from inclusive bills and Wi-Fi to inclusive gyms. There’s a trend for creating false expectation among new students as to what reasonable living accommodation actually looks like, as well as expecting them to pay more than local rents for self-contained student blocks or university halls of residence."
Highman says students need to be given a "realistic expectation" of life in order to learn money management skills, adding: "The higher education ‘industry’ needs to stop milking students for every penny that they don’t have.
"Students are asked to pay more in rents than regular working folk, and sold the expectation that ‘average’ accommodation comes with perks that even people with full-time jobs can’t afford."
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