Living At University versus Living At Home - How To Choose

With the number of quality universities in the UK increasing, students are now finding that there are opportunities for further education close to home, which rightly or wrongly may influence their decision on where to go.  Staying at home can be a much cheaper option, particularly if you live within a few miles, but for most, their chosen university is further away, but still commutable.  In many cases it is a tough decision to make whether to live at university versus living at home with 'mum and dad', but it is not just a numbers game. 

I have recently had to make the same decision myself for my son who is going to Manchester.  As I have studied and sold student property for a number of years I had a good insight into some other considerations.  I also regularly talk to students and their parents about the decisions they made and why.  I am sure there are many other reasons, but here are just a few reasons why students choose to live away at university, which are not just based on cost. 

7 Reasons why students chose to live away from parents in PBSA (purpose built student accommodation)   

  1. Safety – my son is new to driving and I was not comfortable with him making the 70 mile round journey each day to university.  There is public transport available but then that is not always reliable, particularly in the north of England and Midlands.  Several parents had reported their children being left stranded as they had missed the last bus home, or the route had been cancelled due to strikes etc.  There is also an element of anti-social behaviour, particularly in cities and large towns late at night that can be worrying. 

  1. Personal Development – I am a big believer that you grow up more by leaving home during university years and learn more about yourself and which direction to take in life by being around like-minded individuals.  University is not just about coming away with a degree but finding out who you really are and shaping you for the future. 

  1. Coursework and Group Assignments – many courses are rarely based around individual assessment nowadays, as in real life, you work in a team.  Being local to colleagues and around the university facilities is extremely handy.  On some occasions, with tight deadlines, students are required to work long hours as elements of the courses are designed to see the group act under time constraints.

  1. Social – clearly there is a huge social element to university.  As parents, we try to ignore this as a by-product of being young and away from home, but it helps with growing up and developing new friendships.  I went to University in 1992 and I am still in contact with those who I lived with in my first few years.  In our student property developments, there are not only regular parties but also clubs, organised trips, theme nights, barbeques which I didn’t want to stop my son from enjoying.  Of course, you can always make friends and get involved, but in reality, this doesn’t happen.  There is no substitute for living a full university life.

  1. Financial Management – I have set my son a monthly budget to manage himself.  If he needs more money, he will have to come to me (which he will not want to do).  This can also be done at home, but it is much more difficult when he is planning meals, transport, course materials, social spends etc.  He has never had to manage this responsibility before and it is key to life!

  1. Part Time Work – there are many opportunities for students to work in or around the university to earn extra money.  Again, it is part of growing up, earning your own money and getting valuable experience in dealing with people etc.  These opportunities are usually more suited to students residing locally.

  1. Completing the Course – National statistics show that a much larger proportion of home dwellers do not complete their degrees than those living on campus or in PBSA (Purpose Built Student Accommodation).

I hope this helps to give you an idea why purpose built student accommodation is popular amongst many students/parents, and why many towns and cities need it when the local University has no further room to expand into.  For more information please feel free to contact our office on 01244 343 355 or email

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