OXFORD UNIVERSITY has the third highest cost-of-living index in the country, a study by The Independent has found.
With rent and associated costs reaching on average £120.01 a week, only the Royal Academy of Music and Imperial College, both in London, are more expensive.
The survey took into account the cost of accommodation, drink and a sample basket of goods. The Royal Academy of Music, costing on average £147.07 a week, was the most expensive institution surveyed.
The University and OUSU have been quick to point out that Oxford offers a large number of bursaries and have criticised the figures.
A spokesperson for the University suggested that the figures do not account for the shortness of Oxford terms compared to other universities, and that some rent payments also include costs for food.
"These figures must be put in context. First, rent should be compared to other universities on an annual basis, not a weekly basis. Since Oxford terms are only 8 or 9 weeks long, students in college accommodation are actually only paying rent for half a year, which brings the annual costs way down, and most Oxford students get 2 if not 3 years in college accommodation," he said.
"These rent prices also often include food. Third, we have the most generous bursary scheme in the country to support students from lower income backgrounds, with colleges offering additional financial support."
James Lamming, OUSU Vice-President for Access and Academic Affairs, did not believe the Independent’s study was a cause for concern, confirming that Oxford provided greater bursaries and hardship support to assist students.
"Along with other Universities in the Southeast, the cost of living in Oxford is higher than in other parts of the country," Lamming said. "However, this fact’s importance must be considered in a wider context where Oxford University provides one of the most generous bursaries in the country, considerable hardship support and fantastic facilities such as libraries that help keep academic expenses down for all students."
He also reiterated OUSU’s campaign for student loans to better reflect the greater cost of living in Oxford compared with the rest of the country. "OUSU policy, supported by students, believes regional weighted loans must be available outside of London to reflect the actual cost of living in a particular region, so as to ensure students base their decision to study on their ability to learn, not their ability to pay," he said.Britain’s cheapest weekly rent is at Bradford University, costing only £40.51 a week.