Student Accommodation in the UK vs Student Housing in the US

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Samir Badawy

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10 August, 2023

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7 mins read

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Student Housing

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At Casita, we proudly operate in various regions, most notably the UK, different EU countries, and Australia, among various other countries. This is all possible thanks to our growing number of partners, which add to our student housing stock options, making for a wide range of diverse options. The process of booking your perfect accommodation has never been more straightforward, thanks to our multilingual and experienced team of accommodation experts. 

At Casita, we have various student housing options available in the US and the UK; these options range from PBSAs (purposely built student accommodations) to student flat share options and studios for students, among various other options. Casita mainly offers two types of student accommodations: PBSAs, which are purposely built for students, and private accommodation options. 

Both options have en-suite and non-en-suite options within student flat shares, as well as more self-contained accommodation options such as studios for students and entire flats. In the following sections, we’ll be breaking down the different types of student housing options available as well as a comparison between the US vs the UK regarding student accommodation.


Different Student Houses Available 

The USA and the UK are among the most desirable countries for studying thanks to their higher education systems, which rank among the top in the world, with the USA ranking first and the UK ranking second worldwide, according to US News’s ranking in 2021. That said, due to both countries' desirable characteristics, they also have some of the best student accommodation options worldwide with some of the highest security and safety standards. Also, you can see the different student room types in the UK we offer. 

University Housing

University housing or university halls of residence are available both in the USA and the UK; they tend to be the most convenient option for students as they tend to be on campus and moderately priced. They are among the most coveted student housing options due to their price and proximity to universities.

On the downside, however, they aren’t as widely available as PBSAs in the UK. University-provided housing or on-campus housing typically offers en-suite and non-en-suite options with shared kitchens or even studios for students. In the USA, however, it is common to see shared rooms where students get to share the bedroom with roommates, with beds typically consisting of bunk beds. University housing is also more common than PBSAs in the US. 

One of the main benefits of staying in a university dorm or on-campus housing is its proximity to the campus and its facilities, so you’ll get to enjoy all the benefits of living near the campus, such as convenience, as well as making use of the campus facilities such as the library or sports facilities, if applicable.


PBSA (Purposely Built Student Accommodation)

PBSAs are highly desirable for students as they are purposely built to cater to student needs and often come with all bills included so that you don’t have to worry about any extra charges during your stay. PBSAs also try to include facilities like study areas, lounges, gyms, and laundry facilities, among others, for your convenience. 

PBSAs also offer various options; these are often student flat shares, which include private rooms in a student flat share arrangement, where students can share some facilities, as well as studios and entire flats, which are the most private options and more self-contained.

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Student Flat Share (En-suite and Non-En-suite)

Student flat shares include private rooms in a student flat share arrangement where students can share some facilities, most notably the kitchen/communal area for en-suites and non-ensuites and the bathroom for non-ensuites.

On the plus side, these are among the most affordable PBSA options; however, you will still have to share facilities with your flatmates, which can result in making new friendships. Note that rooms can vary depending on size and furnishing options, even if they fall within the same building.


PBSAs offer various types of studios for students, which vary in size and furnishing options; these are often in an open-plan setting, meaning that the bedroom, living area, and kitchen are often in the same space. Studios offer privacy at a lower cost than staying in a flat; they are also more compact.

Private Student Accommodation

Private Apartments and Student Flat Share (En-suite and Non-en-suite)

Student flat shares consist of either sharing a flat with your friends, meaning that you and a group of friends rent out an entire flat, or renting a private room in a shared flat, depending on the listing offered. Some of the facilities shared in a shared flat include the kitchen, living area, and other facilities that can include a laundry facility.

If you share the apartment with flatmates, you can have access to a private bathroom, making it an en-suite room, or you can have to share the bathroom, making it a non-ensuite room.

One-Bedroom Apartments and Private Studios

Despite being more expensive than sharing a flat with friends or renting a private room in a shared flat with friends, having a private one-bedroom apartment or a private studio for students provides the most privacy and convenience. Private studios for students and private apartments offer more or less the same facilities; however, they differ in layout, with studios being more compact and having an open-plan layout.


Homestays consist of having a private room in a shared flat; however, you’ll be staying with a host family in exchange for a fee. Staying with a host family helps International students, in particular, get acquainted with the local way of life, which includes customs and traditions, local foods, and daily interactions with locals, which can also be beneficial in providing tips.

In most cases, staying with a host family also includes having meals provided as well as access to laundry facilities. Other benefits of staying with a host family include:

  • Affordability

  • Language exchange

  • Having a sense of family outside of your home country

  • Providing a new cultural experience

On the other hand, it offers less privacy than other student accommodation options and makes students follow house rules such as timing; additionally, the home-cooked meals may not be to the student’s liking. Each student, however, has a different experience, so there is no one rule that fits all. You can also check out our student accommodation vs homestay comparison Why is Student Accommodation Better Than Homestay? For more details on the differences between both options.

Differences in Student Housing (UK vs USA)


When comparing the UK vs USA in terms of student accommodation, most room types offer the same features more or less; however, the most striking difference is the tendency to see more shared rooms for university residents than those staying in purposely built student accommodation in the USA, as well as having more unfurnished student accommodation options, which is less prevalent in the UK. 

In the USA, it is more prevalent to live on campus in university halls or off-campus in private accommodation options; purposely built student accommodations are still available, but they are not as prevalent as in the UK.

Payment Systems

Payment systems in the UK vs USA are both paid monthly; however, in the UK, rent is calculated every week, as is the tenancy length, as opposed to the USA, which mainly refers to a monthly basis to calculate the rent as well as to plan your stay.

Regarding payments, in the UK, to qualify to pay in instalments, you generally will have to have a UK-based guarantor who is a legal resident of the UK, has a stable fixed income, and is above the age of 18.

Depending on the building’s policy, you will have a set number of installments to pay, and the policy regarding UK guarantors might differ. In most cases, not having a UK-based guarantor will require you to pay the total amount upfront. There are, however, various services that qualify to act as guarantors for a small fee.

In the USA, payments are made monthly and do not require a USA-based guarantor/sponsor to qualify to pay monthly. In the USA, it is common for students to apply for student loans, which cover the cost of living, tuition fees, and accommodation fees. British and American students also differ in the type of financial aid they receive, with various UK students receiving grants and study allowances from the government to help support their studies.



In the USA and the UK, in most cases, students will have access to kitchen facilities, despite UK student accommodation options having larger and better-equipped kitchens generally. In the US, it is more common for students to rely on meal plans provided by the cafeteria; this is also available for UK housing but is more prevalent in the USA. Various UK student housing buildings have restaurants and cafeterias; however, meal plans are more common in the USA.

Similarities in Student Housing (UK vs USA)

In both countries, the USA and the UK’s student accommodation options have more or less the same features, which include the availability of on-campus accommodation options close to your campus, with differences in room types, as well as the availability of similar social areas and facilities such as communal areas, lounges, and shared kitchens in PBSAs in the USA and the UK. Regarding PBSAs or student housing in both countries, bills generally come all included.  

Student Housing Costs (UK vs USA)


Cost Item



University Halls of Residence

Avg. £6000 per academic year (40 weeks) or £6600 (44 weeks)  

$9,800 to $ 11,100 per academic year 

PBSA/ Residence Halls 

Avg. £535 per month 

$ 600 to $ 800 per month

Private Accommodation: One Bedroom

Avg. £713 to £1,193 per month

$ 1,383 to $ 1,706 per month

Shared Accommodation

Avg. £450 to £737 per month (depending on region)

$ 400 to $ 600 per month


Average £600 to £800 per month

$300–$500 per month

Note that prices in major cities lean towards the higher end of the provided averages; for instance, if you’re looking for student accommodation in London, you’ll be paying on average £1,465 to £2,098 per month for a one-bedroom apartment as an average rent in London. 

If you have decided to live in the UK and study at some of its most famous universities, such as University College London, the University of London, and more, we provide various options near these universities.

How to Book Through Casita?

Through Casita’s website, you can find your perfect student accommodation. To find your perfect match, start by selecting the city or university, your budget, and your length of stay. 

Once you have found your ideal option, click on the “enquire button” and complete your profile. Once that’s done, complete your details so that one of our accommodation experts can better assist you. 

Once we have confirmed your accommodation option, we can hold on to your room for three days until you complete the next steps and provide the necessary documents and payments.

At Casita, we urge you to start looking at your most convenient student accommodation options as early as six months before moving in. You should also check the costs of your student accommodation as it is an essential factor in your budget planning. For more information, check out the differences between PBSA and on-campus accommodation, the differences between Co-Living and PBSAs, and most importantly, what amenities to look for in a PBSA.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is student life better in the UK or US?

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Studying in the UK will have you studying in a shorter amount of time than in the US; however, in the UK, students have less flexibility when it comes to changing their majors compared to the USA. Student housing in the UK has a wider range of options than in the US, which relies more on university housing, which often consists of sharing a room with roommates.

Are US or UK universities better?

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The US and the UK have some of the world’s top universities and even rank among the top in terms of higher education, according to US News’s rankings, with the US ranking first and the UK ranking second.

Is university cheaper in UK or US for international students?

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The UK is a cheaper option for higher education than the US; the UK also has shorter courses, meaning you will graduate in a shorter amount of time.

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