A three-year university course will set students back more than £54,000, or £18,000 a year, not taking into account student loans, according to new research from Santander. That figure is up almost 7% from last year.
Tuition fees account for £8,600 of the annual total, with accommodation and bills costing over £4,100 a year and food a further £1,300. Other living costs, including travel expenses, socialising and IT equipment among other items, bring the total excluding tuition fees to £9,500 a year.
The research reveals that there is considerable variation between living costs in different universities across the UK - though the list makes somewhat surprising reading.
Taking tuition fees out of the equation, Cambridge is the most expensive, at almost £10,800 a year, ahead of London by £480 a year. Leeds is in third place, followed by Glasgow, Plymouth, Bristol and Sheffield.
In contrast, students at Cardiff, at the bottom of the list, can survive on almost 30% less, spending just £7,650 a year.
The findings of a recent survey conducted on behalf of Gocompare.com indicate that current students are funding their education in a wide range of ways. 46% say they are using their own savings, 28% are relying on family savings, 23% are using maintenance grants, 18% have a bursary and 12% a scholarship. In addition, a quarter of the students surveyed had a part-time job.
On average, Gocompare's survey found that current students expect to leave university owing around £16,500, though 20% expect that figure to be above £30,000. Worryingly, 23% say they may have to give up their studies because they are so strapped for cash.
Claire Peate, customer insight manager at Gocompare.com, comments: "While the amount of debt you finish university with will often depend on where you go to university and how much financial support you receive during your course, it also comes down to how well you budget and how savvy you are with bank accounts and credit cards."
This article was written for our sister website Money Observer