Data from the Global Student Living Index shows that while levels of ‘low’ mental wellbeing[1] have fallen amongst students since the peaks of Covid in late 2020, they remain stubbornly high, with 41% of the student population falling into this category in the latest 2022 Q4 results.

The normal seasonal trends showing a drop in wellbeing between enrolment (Q4 in Europe) and the end of the academic year (Q2) can be seen, but the overall increase in ‘low’ wellbeing since 2019 is also clear.

The latest 2022 Q4 data is based on responses from over 37,000 students across Europe, gathered between 1st October and 1st December 2022.

The Global Student Living Index is an international survey of students primarily focussed on their experience in student accommodation, but also covers a range of environmental and wellbeing measures which are tracked. Subscribers to the Index benefit from detailed operational insight, strategic analysis and reporting on wider student trends twice per year.

The latest results continue to demonstrate the importance of PBSA (purpose-built student accommodation) to student wellbeing, with 75% of survey respondents in PBSA saying their accommodation has had an impact on their wellbeing, and three-quarters of those (57% overall) reporting that their accommodation has impacted their wellbeing positively.

Further analysis has revealed a significant increase in the importance of price to students choosing their accommodation, with the proportion of students saying this was the most important factor for them rising from 63% in 2020 and 65% in 2021, to 68% in 2022.

Students are also reporting increasing difficulty finding part-time work, with 30% reporting that this is having a significant impact on their personal wellbeing, compared with 25% this time last year.

With student rent inflation likely to reach or even exceed 15% in some cities in 2023, a labour market that remains tight, and retail inflation spiking at over 100% for some basic foodstuffs, financial pressure looks likely to play a part in challenging conditions for student wellbeing well into 2023 and beyond.

[1] Wellbeing measured using the Shortened Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, with ‘low’ and ‘high’ thresholds set at the levels for the top and bottom 15% of the European general population.