“CRIPPLING rents and rising tuition fees will mean that most Chester students could leave university in four years with more than £35,000 of debt.
A-level students hoping to delay their studies by taking a year exploring Europe or travelling across the world could face massive debts as rents soar across the country and tuition fees rocket by almost £6,000 in 2012.
With new figures ranking Chester as the most expensive place in the North West for students to live, with the current average weekly student rent costing £73.47, students applying to the University of Chester next year face debts topping £35,800 before they have even paid for books, food or drink.
According to a recent survey Chester rents for students have increased by 1.84% over the past year, keeping the cost of living in the city well above Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and York and £6.36 over the national rate of £67.11 a week.
Vice President of Chester Students’ Union Jack Mason explained that the cost of renting was forcing around 60% of students to commute to the university on a daily basis, saying: “The rise in living costs has clearly had an impact on what university people chose to attend and where they choose to live, there is no denying the fact that £73 a week is a lot of money for anyone – not just a student.
“Recently I have heard of a number of students whose parents have helped them fund the cost of living away at university by paying the rent or subsidising them every month for food and bills, but it some cases this isn’t possible.
“Students should not be put off by the staggering figures of debt, do not let it panic or scare you. The debt may look shocking but it is not that daunting when you understand the repayment structure.”
A spokesperson for the University of Chester explained that there was financial support and advice available for students, saying:
“Accommodation packs are sent out by the university to all applicants in June giving advice on how to apply for university accommodation.
“The accommodation office works with the students’ union to hold an accommodation fair to enable students who are mainly going into their second and third years of study to rent affordable houses in the private sector.”
With the university year lasting for 40 weeks students living in privately rented accommodation could end up spending an average of £2,938.80 every year, and with figures showing that rent is increasing by an average of 3% nationwide year on year experts believe that the student experience will only get more expensive.”