In this section we give you some ideas to help you decide where you want to live while you study. This includes deciding between staying at home and moving away.

Some students stay at home to study. This may be the right choice if you:

  • have caring responsibilities
  • want to keep an existing job while you study
  • need to save on accommodation costs. If you’re worried about the cost of moving away, you may be able to get financial support. It’s important to balance the costs against what will give you the best long-term outcome.

Staying at home doesn’t limit you to universities or colleges nearby. You can choose distance learning and do most of your study from home. Or, you could look for a course that combines distance learning and time on campus.

If you’re planning to study locally, think about the time and cost of travelling when deciding on a course to make sure it fits with your other commitments and your budget.

You might choose your university or college for a variety of reasons, depending on what’s important to you. These could include the cost of living in the area, the type of uni environment or its location. Below are some things you might want to consider.

Cost of living

The cost of accommodation and other living costs vary a lot from place to place. If keeping costs down is important to you, find out where it’s cheaper to live and use that to help you decide between courses.

Finding part time work

Many students choose to work part time to help with their costs. If that’s something you think you will want to do, make sure you choose somewhere you are likely to get a job. It’ll be easier to find work in a city than in a rural area.


Some universities and colleges are in the middle of a city or town. Others are on a campus on the outskirts. Campuses have the advantage of having everything in one place, but you’ll be further away from city life.

Getting home

Check transport links and the cost of travel to find out if you’ll be able to visit home as often as you would like.

Things to do

Think about what you’d like to do in your spare time and what’s available close by. This might be sports clubs and facilities, nights out, and cultural or outdoor activities.


The accommodation that is available to students, whether from the university or college, or privately, might affect your decision. This could be because of the type of accommodation, its cost or location, or its availability.

Read more about Accommodation.


See the How will I pay for it? section to find out what support you might be able to get to help pay for accommodation and living costs.

City guides

UCAS has guides on studying in certain cities, which include some information on costs.

Discover Uni course pages

If you need to study close to home, use the Discover Uni search pages and look at information on our course pages for local colleges or universities. This can tell you what other students thought of the course and what their employment outcomes have been.

You can also use the course finder to look for distance learning courses.

University and college websites

University and college websites will give you information about:

  • accommodation
  • how their campuses are laid out
  • what kind of sports and other facilities they offer
  • their open days.

They will often tell you more about the local area.

Open days

Open days are often the best way of finding out if a place feels like somewhere you would want to live and study. They can also give you an idea of the student population and what the wider community is like.

If you are unable to make it to them, many universities and colleges now have virtual open days.

The UCAS website has a list of virtual tours and videos.

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