Uni accommodation is a bit of a minefield. With so many options available, all of which tend to have their own pros and cons, it can be really difficult to choose which option is best for you.
In a recent survey conducted by Unipol and the National Union of Students (NUS) it was found that the average rental bill took up 73% of the maximum student loan. For this reason the cost of the accommodation on offer is likely to be a big factor when it comes to students making choices.
One of the first (and biggest) decisions to make is whether to choose university halls or private housing. In this blog post, we’ve done the research you need to make that decision for you.
Things to consider
The question of ‘which is cheaper—uni halls or private housing?’ might seem like an obvious one. Of course, the university halls are more often than not the pricey option. But this doesn’t always mean that they’re the most expensive overall.
One thing to remember is that, in most cases, university halls are all-inclusive. What this means is that everything from the internet to heating is included in the set price that you pay each month for your accommodation. In some cases, even meals are included!
Therefore, when deciding which accommodation option is the best value for money, it’s important to have a clear idea of what each provides, and compare them accordingly.
The price of the accommodation itself is a good place to start. Depending on where your university is situated and the accommodation you want to live in will vary its price considerably. If you’re after the swankiest, most convenient halls of residence or a luxurious self-contained private apartment, then it’s likely that you’ll have to pay a large premium.
However, generally speaking, because halls are conveniently located, specially kitted out and designed specifically for students, they tend to charge a premium price compared with a similar private accommodation, so there are other options you need to consider.
If you’re in university halls, you’ve probably never even had to pay a bill. That’s because halls are all-inclusive accommodation. This might take away some of the hassle that comes with setting up, managing and paying bills in a house, but it also comes at a price.
Universities are a business. That means they can’t afford to lose money because students have the heating on 24/7 and take three showers a day. As such, the overall price paid for halls is greatly increased by a buffer for this. Therefore, it’s possible to save a considerable amount of money on bills each year by living in private housing.
If you’re in charge of the utilities, you can shop around for the best rates and be careful about what you use. By controlling your own bills and usage, you’ll only ever pay what your house owes, not an additional sum which accounts for hundreds of other students’ usage.
One thing you should consider if you’re thinking about living in a private student house is the commuting costs. Halls are loved by students for their convenience, and with private houses there’s a risk you’ll have a much longer commute to uni, which may require public transport such as the bus.
True, the local bus doesn’t cost much, and there’s often a yearly pass available at a discounted rate for students, but it is something to take into account if you’re struggling to choose between halls and private housing.
It’s not just physical expense you should consider when deciding between uni halls and private housing. Time is also a factor which you should take into account.
University halls are an all-in-one package provided by universities to make moving to a new town or city as easy as possible, so it’s unsurprising that they’re likely to be your most time-saving option.
If you opt for a private house there are all manner of things to consider. From sorting the council tax to the broadband, all of these things will take time to set up. However, as we’ve shown, once everything is up and running, a private house has the ability to be the much cheaper option because it’s entirely in you and your housemates’ hands.
If you’re thinking of renting a private house as a student, get acasa.
acasa is a bill splitting app designed with students, young couples and house shares in mind. acasa can help you save time, money and stress. With acasa you can set up your utility providers in as little as three minutes. What’s more, you can also easily manage joint billing, stay notified when one of your house mates has made a payment and even save up to £200 per year on your utility bills!