Accommodation Options for a Mature Postgrad



I've been accepted on a Masters course starting in September. I'm 34 now (will be 35 when I start) and have lived in my own house for the last 8 years, so this is going to be a big change for me. I'm almost certainly going to be selling my house as the university is on the other side of the country (and I need the money).

My intention from the start was to move into as good a room as possible on campus, and I have found that my uni has 'studio rooms' that contain a double bed, kitchen facilities and en-suite. However the cost is very high (£170 a week) and that has given me pause for thought. Also I found out yesterday that there is no prospect of me being able to get a permit to park my car whilst i'm there (and I'd really prefer not to sell it). So i've now started to think whether it would make more sense to just rent a small apartment near the campus. At least then I would have more of the mod-cons i've been used to and more space for me to bring stuff from my house.

I'm in two minds though as my intention of going back to uni was to throw myself into my studies and not worry about any of the stuff that has occupied my mind for the last 8 years (bills/house maintenance/every day commutes). Also I was looking forward to just being immersed in 'campus life' - by that i'm mean the non-alcohol/party related stuff - those days are long gone and obviously I'm aware that i'm going to be twice as old as the freshers on campus! But I understand that there will be mature student societies I can join.

I wonder if people have any advice/comments on this?


I just had a room in a student house for the 4 years of my PhD. I paid around £300 a month plus bills (although the landlord paid for the TV licence). There were 3 of us most of the time, mainly postgraduates, though for my last 2 years I shared with one female PhD student and one male undergraduate. We all had our own shower rooms (big plus!) and managed to make the shared kitchen work without any issues. I was in my late 50s/early 60s, they were in their 20s, but I think we all felt it worked pretty well. Maybe I got lucky, because all of us were focused on our work and there were no riotous parties.


Most postgrads house/flat share with other postgrads, either through the uni or privately. In my city this costs around £400 to £600 per month for rent + bills. Studio or 1 bed flats are minimum £600+ for rent only and the cheapest of these are not very nice and further out from the uni.

I think the closer you are to uni the better, as otherwise it's a pain to have to walk home long distances or get public transport if you can't park at uni.

It's a hard one, because a Masters isn't very long. When I moved for my postdoc, I rented out my house for the year and then rented the cheapest (horrible) place I could find in the other city. I could have taken stuff with me, but didn't want to as it was just for a year, and in the end I bought cheap stuff that I just left behind.

I think what you do depends on what sort of person you are and how you like to live. I hated it in that flat because of the cheap things I had and because it was a horrible place - I'm in my early 30s too and that was too much like back to impoverished student days for me. I know this doesn't bother other people though. That was my only option though as it was all I could afford.

Thank goodness I'm now in very well paid job! (at least for this year anyway...)


It seems a bit drastic to sell your house unless you really need the money - couldn't you rent it out instead?


Thanks for the advice so far.

I can't rent out the house as I bought it using a 'help to buy' shared equity scheme and they strictly prohibit it. I did check with my mortgage company whether they would increase my mortgage so I could buy them out but they said they wouldn't on the basis of returning to studies and no longer having an income. Also I probably need some of the equity to do the Masters.

Does anyone think it would be a bit 'odd' for a 35 year old to live on campus if it's more normal for postgrads to house share? It's been 10 years now since i've shared a property with anyone and I have to say that I much prefer the idea of having a studio room to myself - even if it costs me a bit more. The car thing is annoying but I guess I could find a solution to it.

I should add that my intention would be to apply for PhD funding next year. If successful I suppose I would then gauge how much I spent during my masters year, look at the living cost grant and decide whether it was worth supplementing it with my savings to say living in halls.


You can often rent it out in extreme circumstances, such as this. I would check it out with the scheme if I were you.

It's definitely not odd for an older postgrad to live on campus - there is often specific accommodation for mature students and for postgrads. I know several people who live in postgrad uni accommodation.

You could also look at being a hall rep, or whatever they are called, the people who live in the uni accommodation and supervise the students. They get subsidised accommodation.


I already checked with the scheme and they said that if I jumped through a number of hoops that they would consider letting me let it out for a maximum of one year. That doesn't really help me. Anyway, I feel that it's time for a change.

Thanks, I will give the accommodation office a ring to ask them for some advice.

I was looking at options for parking my car and I found one person who would be willing to rent their driveway for £500 for the year. It's only 5 mins walk from campus. I'm not sure it makes sense to be honest but I'm going to face real problems if I try to sell the car as it's cat d.


Yes I think it's good to keep your car if you can. I found it really makes a difference to quality of life for me, even if it was simply being able to drive to the shops rather than walking all the shopping home!

I would check with the uni about parking options as well. Maybe there's residential parking nearby that you could use. I think unis often tell people not to bring their car, but in reality some do so you might be ok.


I emailed their parking department last week and they sent me some very curt replies along the lines of "sorry but no". I range the accommodation office earlier today to talk about general stuff and when I mentioned parking the adviser sounded a bit more hopeful and started looking into it for me . . . . . only to then tell me that I need to ring the parking department!

I was going to ask actually whether people felt that owning a car on campus is that important. I just don't want to sell mine.


Most postgrads that I know don't have cars, or at least don't have them on campus, they keep them at their parents' or something, A surprisingly large percentage can't even drive! It depends where you go, but it's definitely not necessary to have a car where I live as everything (bus station, train station, shopping centre, nightlife) is in walking distance. For me it's just hard to adapt though when you have been used to having a car.


Does anyone think it would be a bit 'odd' for a 35 year old to live on campus

Worry less about what other people think and care more about whether you would personally want to live on campus.
That might sound a bit harsh but it's not meant to be.
You will be studying alongside people who are 17-24.
Do you really want to live anywhere near them?
Accept that you are going to stand out.
Some of them will find it weird that you are in "their" environment and will do anything to avoid you.
You need to not care about these types of people or you might find life difficult.
I went through all of this. It's a great experience but I had to pretend I wasn't seeing some of the things in front of me like not being invited to things where everyone else was going.
You might find yourself being "shoe-laced" as well.
This sort of thing might drive you crazy if you let it :-D


A car isn't necessary if you have good transport links and are near facilities. I didn't buy my first car until I was 37! I agree that I wouldn't really want to live on campus as a mature student.