eBay reveals the true cost of student life in 2023

Press Release

  • The cost of attending university is expected to rise by £5,000 this year thanks to the cost-of-living crisis, according to research from eBay*

  • The average student predicts they’ll be spending an extra £411.58 a month this academic year compared to previous years

  • eBay launches its Back to Uni hub to encourage students to consider refurbished tech and discounted homewares as a way of saving money on uni essentials


31 August 2023 - As inflation continues to soar, students are predicting they'll be hit harder than ever as they look ahead to the new academic year. New research from eBay reveals the true price of being a university student, as over half (62%) admit they probably wouldn’t have gone to university if they’d known how expensive it would be. 

With the cost of attending university expected to rise by a huge £5,000 this year, eBay is helping students save their pennies by encouraging them to consider refurbished technology and discounted homeware essentials as they prepare for the year.

From phones and laptops to groceries and kitchenware, the list of term time essentials for university students is lengthy, and invariably expensive. The average student predicts that they’ll be spending an extra £411.58 this academic year compared to previous years, and 85% are worried about how they are going to afford the upcoming term. 

With up to 50% off top tech brands including Apple, Samsug and Lenovo on eBay, opting to buy second-hand tech over new is a no brainer for students who are looking to cut their costs. As such, 87% of students reveal that they’d consider buying a piece of refurbished tech for their studies, with 64% doing so to save money, and 35% as it’s better for the environment.

Mobile phones, laptops and desktop PC equipment top the list of the top items students need, but 71% are unsure how they’re going to produce the funds, with 75% predicting they'll have to resort to their savings and 67% looking to use credit cards to get them through the year. 

Research also found that 54% of students admit to receiving money from their parents and nearly two thirds (63%) say they would consider going to uni closer to home so they could save some money  - with £383.01 being the average amount they receive from parents per month to bolster their budgets.

Whilst more than half of undergraduates students surveyed (57%) have a maintenance loan to help with living expenses, 42% said that it doesn’t quite cover the costs they need it to.

Money concerns as well as fending for themselves for the first time, were a concern for many of the students surveyed, with budgeting (18%), managing their workloads (16%) and being far away from family (12%) listed amongst the hardest things about being a student.

As well as tech, nearly 4 in 10 (39%) students reveal that they don’t think they’ll be able to afford key pieces for their uni homes, including desks, kitchenware and bedding. 

To combat this, eBay has launched a Back to Uni hub which gives savvy students up to 50% off uni must haves. Running until 9th September, students can snap up unmissable deals on desks, chairs, kitchenwares and bedding. With cheaper prices  than Ikea, John Lewis, Any Day and Dunelm, top buys include a ceramic set of plates and mugs for £24.99, a duvet, a mattress and pillow bundle for £26.99 and a computer desk and chair for £99.99. 

Mark Monte-Colombo, Head of Refurbished Technology at eBay UK says, “Students are already known for being ‘skint’, but it’s worrying to think about how the rising cost of living is impacting their lives and education. At eBay, we want to do whatever we can to help - so we're raising awareness of the savings to be made by shopping refurbished tech or by choosing discounted homewares from our Back to Uni hub. The hub is designed to help student budgets stretch a bit further, while making sure they don't miss out on top brands”


Top Items Students Need But Can't Afford This Year:

  1. Mobile phone

  2. Laptop

  3. Desktop PC + equipment

  4. Clothes

  5. Textbooks

  6. Travel

  7. Food/grocery shopping

  8. Expenses specific to your course

  9. Headphones

  10. Desk

  11. Kitchenware

  12. Bedding


-Ends - 

Notes to editors:

*Consumer research carried out by 72 Point on 500 UK University Students between 19/08/2023 and 22/08/2023


Running until 9th September, eBay’s Back to Uni edit can be accessed on the link here

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