New study reveals Manchester has suffered £106 million losses due to COVID-19 keeping students away

Flickr / Suzanna Neziri

A newly-conducted study has revealed that Manchester is ranked among the student towns and cities which have experienced some of the most significant cost losses due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It’s believed that around 13 UK universities are at risk of going bust, and 80% of students have struggled financially, but it’s not just universities and students who’ve suffered.

University towns and cities have also experienced a loss of income when students were forced to move off campus.

There’s no hiding the fact that the extended lockdown period has been financially challenging for all areas of the country, but for places that have a large student population – due to one or more major universities situated there – the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been economically catastrophic.

High streets up and down the UK also saw an 18.8% drop of non-food purchases in the three months leading to August, demonstrating the true cost that COVID-19 had.

Remove a huge proportion of a town’s student population, and the financial impact was even worse.

Now, this latest research – as released by educational consultant Studee – is highlighting the true cost of the pandemic for university cities and towns over the last six months.

As a whole, the UK lost £3.5 billion during lockdown, but how much has Manchester been affected?


The study has revealed that the city of Manchester will have sadly lost a staggering £106 million+ in income in total over the past six months of lockdown.

This figure can also be broken down to show the different causes of income loss in the city.

  • £3.3 million not spent on gifts and charity.
  • £5.5 million lost in the Health & Wellbeing sector.
  • £15 million lost at Manchester takeaways.
  • £16 million was lost through a lack of socialising.
  • £17 million wasn’t spent on public transport, or other transportation services.
  • £13 million not spent on clothes (or in the retail sector).
  • £35.6 million wasn’t spent on food and non-essential groceries.

When looked at nationally, it’s estimated that over £1 billion will have been lost in student towns and cities from grocery stores alone, £418 million may have been lost out on takeaways, £574 million lost from the transport industry over the last six months, £347 million lost from students not revamping their wardrobes, £172 million is likely to have been withheld from the health and wellbeing sector, and over £156 million is predicted to have been lost from students not giving to charities and buying gifts across the UK.

The largest overall loss nationally lies in the lack of socialising / social activities.

With nightclubs still closed and bars recently being told to restrict their opening hours, a night out on the town hasn’t been an option for students and freshers weeks this year have looked different indeed, meaning that a huge £577 million will have been lost in the UK from students not going out over the last six months.

So, how do the university towns and cities in the UK rank overall?

Biggest Overall Losses

According to the summarised research by Studee, the following towns and cities will have lost the biggest amount of money in total due to the number of students who live there.

Manchester ranks at number six.


When it comes to the towns and cities which will have felt the greatest impact from their losses, the city of Manchester doesn’t feature, nor do any towns with universities located within any of Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs.

The top 10 list in this instance has been worked out by the percentage of the population likely to be lost when students leave, and how much money they would have spent.

Egham in Surrey – home to Royal Holloway University – comes in at the top spot on this particular list of most impacted towns.

It’s then followed by Warwick, Farnham, Hatfield and Bangor rounding out the top five.

The closest place to Manchester on the list is the town of Ormskirk – situated in West Lancashire and bordering Merseyside with around a 30-minute journey to Liverpool – which is home to Edge Hill University and could have lost income of over £15.5 million during the last six months.

That’s nearly £2.5 million every month.


If you would like to read the full study and research methodology to find out more information, you can do so via the Studee website here.

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