For some students the availability of accommodation that meets their particular needs or is affordable is something that can affect their choice of where to study. For all, it becomes an important thing to think about after applying and starting to receive offers.

This section explains a bit about student accommodation and where to find more information.

University or college accommodation

A lot of students live in halls of residence or other university accommodation in their first year. It gives them the opportunity to meet other students and often to live on or close to the campus.

There are different types of accommodation:

  • Halls of residence where you live with lots of other people or smaller shared houses
  • In halls, ensuite accommodation or rooms with shared bathrooms
  • Catered accommodation where you get meals or flats and houses where you cook for yourself.

Not all providers of higher education have their own accommodation.

Private accommodation

There is often also a wide range of private accommodation available to students. Some cities have private halls of residence as well as houses and flats available for rent.


As with other accommodation, the cost of student accommodation varies between different areas. There can also be big differences in cost depending on the type of accommodation you choose. You can sometimes save a lot by not having an ensuite room or by opting for one of the cheaper options. Catered accommodation is more expensive, but it does include meals.

Whatever accommodation you are considering, it’s important to understand what is included in the cost and what additional costs you might have to pay for.


You might want to think about where the accommodation is located, for example:

  • How far it is from where you will be studying
  • What it would mean for travel costs or time to get to lectures
  • How safe the area is
  • What is available close by.

Your needs

If you have specific needs or preferences for accommodation, check this is something that is available. Often there is accommodation designed for:

  • Disabled students
  • Students with children
  • Students who need quiet spaces.

Not all university or college accommodation is available outside term time. If you will need year-round accommodation, you will need to choose a provider that offers this or consider private rental.

Likelihood of getting accommodation

Some universities and colleges will guarantee you accommodation in your first year, but it isn’t guaranteed that you will get your first choice. If this is an important consideration for you, it is worth checking how likely you are to get the accommodation you want or need.

University and college websites

The university or college website should have detailed information on its accommodation. This will include the type, the cost and the location. It may also have information about availability and cost of other accommodation in the area.

Accommodation offices

The accommodation office at the provider can answer questions about its accommodation. It can also provide help with finding approved private accommodation.

Open days

At open days you have the opportunity to see the accommodation for yourself and to ask students questions about it.  If you can’t make it to the open day, there are sometimes virtual tours on the university or college website.

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