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LSE named UK's most expensive university

A new study comparing 20 top universities around the country reveals the highest and lowest costs of student living.


The London School of Economics has been named Britain’s most expensive university in a recent survey by money transfer service Ukash.

LSE students were found to be forking out £19,717 in tuition and living costs per year, totalling a whopping £59,152 across a three year undergraduate degree. These high figures are due in part to marked increases in yearly rent (£8,710), car insurance (£1,054) and entry fees for student events (£120).

Nine key living expenses were considered in the study, taking into account realistic elements of student life ranging from car insurance to the price of a pint on campus. Unsurprisingly, Britain’s highest ranked universities were identified as the most expensive. University College London came in second place with an estimated three-year living cost, tuition included, of £53,954. Imperial College London came in third at £53,822, whilst Oxford and Cambridge took out fourth and fifth places at £50,540 and £47,997 respectively. 

Even the price of a student hooded sweatshirt is significantly inflated at LSE, at £34.99 to Imperial and University Colleges London’s £21. For a hooded top at Oxford, you’re only looking at £15.

An LSE spokesman has spoken out against the results, telling The London Evening Standard that the survey was ‘...not an accurate reflection of the cost of studying at LSE. It does not include the generous bursaries received by one third of our undergraduates.’

‘Also, taking into account the cost of car insurance at a central London university is particularly inappropriate.’

The survey found annual rental costs for universities located in London to be in excess of £7,000, where in Cambridge and Oxford they were around £5,000. When quizzed, over 78% of respondents said that they expected Oxford and Cambridge to be the most expensive.

Ukash, an online cash payment provider, compared living costs at the UK’s top 20 universities prior to this year’s UCAS application deadline to help students make an informed decision. ‘We produced this cost comparison study for students who want to go to a top university but don’t want it to cost the eartth,’ Ukash marketing director Miranda McLean said. ‘We were surprised to find such staggering differences in costs.’

Edinburgh Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh and St. Andrews universities were found to have the lowest cost of living, with students paying just £9,587 a year. Not only is this a staggering £10,000 less than those found most expensive, but is coupled with significantly cheaper student resources such as free entry into student events and annual gym membership averaging £96 as compared to LSE’s £160. For prospective students, perhaps it would be prudent to swap spin class for a run around campus.

Students can view full results of the Ukash study.


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About Author

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.


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