Financial capability and learning

Student rent rises almost 20% - Student Living Index 2021

Student rent has increased almost 20% over the last year. In data released as part of the 2021 NatWest Student Living Index there has been a steep increase in student rent bringing the average monthly cost to £518, an increase of 18% from 2020.

The biggest increase can be found for students in Leicester, who have been hit with an £188 rise for their average monthly rental costs. 

London retains its title as having the most expensive rent for students, despite a significant fall of nearly £100 a month from its 2020 heights. London students can expect to pay around £619.90 a month on rent. The capital is currently the only UK city where student spend or costs outweigh their income. 

The NatWest Student Living Index surveyed more than 2300 students across the country. Students were asked a range of questions, on fraud and scams, on how much they spend on essentials such as food, rent and bills, and how much time they spend studying, working and socialising. 

The majority of student’s income continues to come from their student loan. However, this has dropped slightly since 2020, as contributions from parents and personal savings have gained importance in financing student lives – a reflection of more students living at home last year. This has also meant that now only one in seven students rely on their own income to pay for their rent, compared to one in five last year. 

Budgeting continues to be a challenge for many students. Whilst 84% of students consider themselves sensible with money, one in four say they ran out of money every month, and one in five say that they don’t save any money at all. 

Andy Nicholson, Head of NatWest Student Accounts said: “Increasing student rent puts even more pressure on student finances. Our student account this year is designed to help alleviate some of that burden.” 

Find out more about the 2021 NatWest Student Living Index .

NatWest’s Student Living Index covers 21 university cities and towns, looking at the spending habits, lifestyle and the cost of living for students across the UK and uses the information to determine the most affordable city for students to live in. 

Audience: n=2337 University Students Living in the UK

Survey period: 4 June – 17 June 2021. Respondents were given a small incentive to take part in an online survey. The survey was unbranded for all respondents.

Panel Provider: YouthSight: Experts in student and young professionals research.



This is for media use and not a financial promotion.

Student account: Apply online only. You must be 17+ and a UK Citizen or have been living in the UK for at least 3 years.

Study details: You need to be full time undergraduate student (on at least a 2 year course at a UK University/College) or you need to be completing a full time postgraduate or nursing course lasting a year or more. You can apply within 6 months of your course start date.

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