Leicester named in top three for UK student cities

To thousands of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students, Leicester’s already the perfect place to live and study – and now it’s been named one of the best student cities in the UK.

This year’s Student Living Index 2020 compiled by banking giant NatWest ranks Leicester in the top three student cities, just behind Manchester and Cambridge, based on interviews with more than 2,800 students in June this year.


Leicester earns its high ranking based on how much it costs students for food, rent and socialising. The cost of accommodation, the weekly shop and nights out in Leicester combined was far more wallet-friendly than Birmingham (placed eighth), Coventry (20) and neighbouring Nottingham (21).

And the study also busts some stereotypes around the student lifestyle. NatWest found students in Leicester spent £18 a month on alcohol, less than anywhere else in the country. They also spend an average of 98.9 hours a month studying, compared to 23.8 hours socialising and many juggled studies with part-time work.

The survey also found:

  • The average rent in Leicester was £342 a month, compared to £383 in Sheffield, £435 in Coventry, £436 in Nottingham and £469 in Birmingham
  • Students in Leicester are a focused bunch, spending more time studying and working than socialising than anywhere else in the region
  • When they do go out, students pay on average £3.40 a pint – compared to Cambridge, where it cost £5


NatWest combines the cost of rent, food and socialising and divides it by monthly income, made up of student loans, wages from part-time work and any bursaries or scholarships to put together its annual index.

Tierney Morris, who has just graduated in International Business, said: “I really like Leicester. It’s small enough to walk everywhere and it’s close to campus, people are friendly, and there are lots of things happening, good bars. It is a good city to be a student in.”

The 2020 index is the latest national survey to showcase Leicester. Only a few months ago, Leicester was named as one of the best UK cities in which to live and work. The annual Good Growth for Cities Index put our city ahead of London, Brighton and Plymouth and Midlands neighbours Birmingham, Nottingham and Derby.


The Index was developed by PwC and the think tank Demos. Leicester was ranked not just against economic factors, but against measures which the public vote as most important such as health, work-life balance, the environment and jobs.

Diya Rattanpal, equality and diversity executive on De Montfort Students’ Union, said: “I love how multicultural it is. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly in Leicester – and I really love Narborough Road! It’s also got the best student union in the world!”

And the city is a firm favourite with the people who matter most – our students. DMU asked students what they liked about Leicester for a project looking at graduate opportunities in the city. Of 200 students asked, 70 per cent said they liked the people and sense of community in the area, plus its amenities such as cinemas, shops and more were all within walking distance of campus.

Posted on Wednesday 19 August 2020

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