Over the course of February, March and April 2024, we asked students to respond to our annual Student Life Survey. In total, 629 students filled out the survey which has given us a great insight into the issues students are facing right now, from housing, to travel and finances. This time, we also asked students about some of the broader aspects of College life, including the sense of belonging at Edinburgh College, and we explored how much students engaged in College activities beyond their course.

Some of the key headlines of the report are very encouraging:

  • Most respondents feel happy and safe in their current living situation
  • Most respondents have access to a digital device that they can use for online learning
  • Most respondents feel they belong at Edinburgh College
  • Most respondents feel Edinburgh College is a welcoming place
  • Most respondents feel positive about the College's facilities

There are however some parts of the report that show the challenges facing students, as summarised by this quote:

The commute is killing me as I am studying full time, I am in an open learning course, and I am working part time. My studies are in Sighthill and I live and work in North Berwick, I am getting £151 from bursary for my travels, if I had gone with student housing, I wouldn't be able to afford it and food.

Multiple students highlighted precarious living situations, the lack of affordable housing in and around Edinburgh, and more general financial difficulties, which shows that the cost-of-living crising continues to have a huge impact on students' lives.

Thanks to everyone who filled out our survey, we now have lots of helpful evidence to inform our conversations with College Management, as well as our own strategy going into the next academic year. You can read the full report, which includes lots more direct student quotes, below, or download it by clicking the button.

Download the full report




Comparisons to previous years

This year's survey builds on the Housing & Finance Survey we have run in previous years. We asked many of the same questions, which allows us to compare the data directly and work out some trends.


As shown in the charts below, compared to previous years, a higher proportion of students are currently living at their family home. The students who weren't happy with their living situation in 2024's survey were generally either living in social housing, living with in their family home, or in privately rented accommodation. The proportion of respondents who were unhappy in privately rented accommodation, or found it stressful to arrange private accommodation has dropped compared to previous years. As in 2020, 2021 and 2022, those who felt unsafe at home tended to be women, but there is a marked increase in people who identify their gender in another way (non-binary or genderqueer) who feel unsafe at home. There are more details on the various reasons people feel unsafe at home in the full report.

Where are students currently living

Students who are unhappy with their living situation

Students who feel unsafe in their current living situation

Students who found it stressful to arrange their accommodation


Students' employment status has generally remained similar in every year the survey has been conducted, though we do see a significantly higher proportion of students not working in 2024 (47%) than 2023 (35%). Respondents is 2024's survey tended to feel slightly more positive about saving than they have in previous years. Financial worries are still a great cause of stress for students, as demonstrated in the final graph, which shows most students tend to feel 7 or 8 out of 10 stressed (with 10 being the most stressed). There are more details on students' financial concerns in the full report.

What is students' employment status?

Do students feel able to save money each month?