Rent tends to be an economic residual; and so it is generally true that the higher the local wages, the more one can afford to pay and hence the higher the cost of housing.  But what happens when you can’t afford to pay anything because you are a student? A study by Student.com reports that the UK enjoys three of the most expensive (London, Oxford, Cambridge) and three of the least expensive (Hull, Dundee, Sunderland) student rents in the world. Arguably the best cities act as a magnet to the best universities; for instance, in recent years London has pulled in a number of outposts from regional universities. An alternative explanation is that it is the presence of a strong university (e.g. Oxford) which drives the performance of the city (or city quarter). Either way, it seems that in many cases high rent is a feature of top institutions, and hence potentially a barrier to entry for those less able to afford it.