London has come second, beaten only by Paris, in a ranking of the world`s 50 best cities for students, according to BBC.

Researchers considered cities with populations of more than 250,000 and home to two or more top universities.

They looked at affordability and quality of life as well as the number and reputation of universities.

Ben Sowter, lead researcher on QS Best Student Cities, said that though London had more world class universities than Paris it was more expensive.

London scored well on the quality and reputation of its universities, including Imperial College, University College London and King`s College London.

The two cities did similarly well on quality of life, student mix and how well employers rated their universities as a source of good recruits.

But fees - calculated in this survey as £20,000 a year for international students from outside the European Union - meant that London lost out against Paris, where they are just £1,000 a year.

Mr Sowter said: "While high tuition fees make London a far more expensive proposition than Paris, London`s array of world-class universities means it is worth the investment for many student."

Burger prices

The ranking is primarily aimed at international students who are considering where to study.

The research team considered nearly 500 cities, shortlisted just under 100 and are publishing the top 50.

They looked at indicators such as "quality of life", which included measures of crime and the cost of living.

They also looked at student mix which includes both the overall number of students and proportion from overseas.

Measures of affordability included the cost of a burger and the amount charged for tuition.

Mr Sowter explained; "Neither Paris nor London are cheap cities but it was the cost of tuition fees in London that pushed London`s rating down by 13 points."

Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students, said the ranking was a testament to the hard work of London`s universities and students` unions to attract students from around the globe.

But he warned: "If London is to continue to be such an attractive place to study we need to see urgent action to address the spiralling cost of student living.

"It poses a real threat to the affordability of studying in the capital and therefore to the future sustainability of this world renowned status."

"We should remember that studying in a big city is the right choice for some, but it`s not for everyone.

"We are proud of our campuses across the UK in offering a range of learning and living environments for those not lured in by the bright lights."

The fact that the ranking only looked at large centres of population meant that some of the UK`s best known university cities were left out.

But other UK cities scored well, with Manchester coming 35th, Birmingham 47th and Glasgow 50th.


By Judith Burns, BBC