Budgeting for accommodation

Tuition fees and living costs are your two main expenses at university. Budgeting early for everyday outgoings like accommodation, household bills, food and leisure, means you can focus on enjoying your time at Kent.

The cost of living is at the forefront of everyone’s mind at the moment and rightly so! Taking this into account, we want you to find the accommodation option that’s right for you and gets you the best value for your money, so we’ve pulled together a few things you need to consider when looking for next year’s accommodation.

What’s my budget?

Your maintenance loan, savings, income from a part-time job and any bursary or grants you are eligible for need to be able to cover all your needs including your rent. To save worrying later, it’s a good idea to sit down and spend a little time estimating your outgoings, including things like groceries or going out before you make any commitments so that you know what you have left to spend on your accommodation or vice versa. There are lots of online tools from independent providers, such as Blackbullion or Money Saving Expert that can help you do this, as well as University of Kent-specific tools and advice that can help with budgeting, which are well worth a read.

All our accommodation prices are available on our accommodation prices page, and you’ll see we have rooms available at a variety of price points to meet a range of student budgets. To give you greater certainty when budgeting, we set our accommodation prices in December/January for the following September. We do everything we can to keep them low and once they’re set these won’t change for the rest of the year regardless of what happens.

We know campus accommodation might not always be the cheapest option, but if you’re looking for security and certainty, we’ve got you covered and we include several perks to make life easier that you might not get elsewhere. For instance, we offer 24-hour campus security, all utility bills included, on-site maintenance and repairs, free Kent Sport membership, accommodation with no upfront deposit required and a very small commute from your bed to class! Our application process is simple and enables you to get your accommodation sorted early on. 

How much will I spend on accommodation fees?

This will be a big part of your budget, but the good news is there are lots of options on and off campus so there will be something available to suit your needs. When looking for accommodation, you need to first ask yourself what your essentials are, such as distance to classes, fast Wi-Fi, or en-suite room. Beyond this, you also need to check what’s included in the total cost to help you find the best value. For example, some off-campus housing may seem cheap at first, but make sure you read the small print to check that stays true. If no utility bills, such as water, heating, and electricity, are included you could be paying for these on top of your monthly rent. You and your house-mates will also be responsible for dividing the bill and arranging payment to the utility company on time. You’ll also need to set up and budget for Wi-Fi, contents insurance and travel costs, which could all be extra costs to consider separate from the rent. The good news is that for local university travel, you can take advantage of local bus ticket discounts.

If you’re considering campus accommodation, we include all the essentials so you don’t have to worry. That means no utility bills, Wi-Fi or personal possessions insurance costs. Residential students also receive a free Premium Plus Kent Sport membership (worth £195) to make sure everyone has access to different sports and well-being activities so you might consider meeting a friend to play table tennis or attend a fitness class to make the most of your membership. Furthermore, we strive to make your stay at Kent as comfortable and safe as possible, which is why we utilise Residential Life Ambassadors, who organise events and help build community within your college residence and create opportunities for you to meet new people and connect with your neighbours. Residential Life Assistants are recruited every year and can be a great way to get involved with the student community and receive a discount on your accommodation fees. 

Another thing to look for is contract lengths. If you know you’re not going to stay during the summer break, look for a shorter contract where possible to avoid paying for months when you’re not living there. As a guide, on-campus our contract lengths are set to match your course dates and run from September to June for undergraduates and September to September for postgraduates. Although we also have shorter contracts that include no vacations for undergraduates, so it’s always worth having a look around as a quick cost saver.

You might find Save the Student’s rent calculator a valuable tool to help you calculate the right accommodation price point for you.

Finally, it may be contradictory for us to say but try to remember your accommodation isn’t everything. It may mean a compromise (like saying goodbye to your en-suite) but try and make sure you’re realistic and set aside some budget so you can still go out and enjoy yourself, whether that’s a gym membership or a night out fund. If you’re struggling or you need advice never hesitate to reach out as we’re here to help. If you want to learn more about the cost of living support available at Kent just head over to our dedicated web pages.