Students in Birmingham are struggling to find a balance between work and living expenses because of the spiralling cost of rents, according to new research.
The survey of 70 university towns and cities found Birmingham the 16th cheapest with the average cost of living rising to £210 a week.
Last year it was the third cheapest place to study at university. The cheapest place to study is now Cardiff while the most expensive is Cambridge.
The survey, carried out by YouGov, found that 44 per cent of Birmingham University students take a part-time job to cover their living expenses, making on average £91 per week.
Compared with other students around Britain, Birmingham's students will spend more than average on grocery shopping, but less on buying clothes, eating out and mobile phone bills.
Birmingham students earn a slightly higher hourly rate than the national average (£6.64 compared with a UK average of £6.20), and half (50 per cent) of Birmingham students are working more than 20 hours a week.
The most popular parttime student jobs are in bars and clothes shops, but more unusual jobs include working in factories and gyms.
On average, they will work 17.4 hours each week, which is slightly higher than the national average of 16.2 hours.
Coventry flew up to third place from seventh in the annual rankings.
"This rise is due, in part, to a significant rise in the average weekly earnings for each student, from the national average of £90 in 2005 to £132 in 2006, " said the spokeswoman.
"Compared with other UK students, Coventry under-graduates seem to benefit from the city's lower cost-ofliving by spending less-than-average on day to day travel and accommodation. In fact, at £66 per week, the average rent paid by Coventry students is one of the lowest in the UK and eight per cent below the national average."
The study found that the number of students working during term-time had increased by five per cent since last year.
Birmingham University offers a 'job centre' at its student union, advertising local part time jobs and seasonal placements.
Helen Buckingham, aged 21, worked at Blockbusters video store in Selly Oak during term-time for an average of 15 hours per week. Her rent was £250 per month.
"I earned about £70 per week," she said. "There is always a shortfall between your loan and your accommodation and fees, and everyone has it. Some people scrimp and save, some take jobs and some people's parents help them out."
The survey, by the Royal Bank of Scotland, found that almost half (49 per cent) of Birmingham's students still underestimate the weekly cost of living expenses and rent at university.
Miss Buckingham, from Tamworth, admitted she found it hard to keep track of her outgoings.
"I've no idea what my monthly outgoings are," she said. "It's really hard as a student to keep track of expenses. Books are quite pricey, doing English literature, and so are rents in Birmingham according to friends I have at other universities - but most cities are expensive."
This is the full table of university towns, ranked by The Royal Bank's Student Living Index:
1 Cardiff (6) 2 Leeds (11) 3 Coventry (7) 4 St Andrews (24) 5 Manchester (4) 6 Belfast (21) 7 Edinburgh (19) 8 London (1) 9 Liverpool (2) 10 Bristol (23) 11 Dundee (9) 12 Southampton (8) 13 Glasgow (13) 14 Canterbury 15 Brighton (20) 16 Birmingham (3) 17 York (17) 18 Leicester (10) 19 Newcastle (22) 20 Bath 21 Nottingham (14) 22 Sheffield (5) 23 Oxford (12) 24 Aberdeen (15) 25 Durham (16) 26 Cambridge (18) Rankings according to the 2005 Student Living Index are in brackets. If there is no bracket it is the first time the town has been included in the study.
Parents boost house sales
House sales have been boosted by parents buying properties for their children while they were at university.
About 83,000 homes were bought on behalf of students last year, a 26 per cent increase since 2000, according to the study by finance firm Direct Line.
The number of houses occupied by students was predicted to reach 100,000 by the year 2010.
The so-called university effect helped to increase the number of "second properties" to 2.6 million, up from 2.3 million five years ago.
About 1.6 million of the second properties were buy-to-let, while others included holiday homes.