Yeah Sutton Coldfield, or further out, but I imagine it might be a bit expensive!
I don't think anywhere in east Birmingham, where Washwood Heath is, is particularly 'nice' though... Harbourne and parts of Edgbaston are nice I think, also south Birmingham is ok but they might be a bit too far away.
I'm not from Birmingham but the above is just from what I've gathered from other people and driving around the city!
Great Barr ent to bad but u might find some of the houses a bit expensive and it might make commuting to work a bit awkward.
if not you cud try perry barr, but onli the part close to one stop shopping centre on the great barr side. the other part is a bit of a death trap.
otherwise theres new oscott and erdington (can be a bit dodgy in some places)
Unless you have a lot of money, I doubt you will be able to find anywhere to live in Sutton which would suit the average student budget. Erdingtons quite popular with students. Ok its not the prettiest place in the world, but its no way near as bad as some places like Aston, Lozells etc.
washwood heath is pretty **** yeah.
if you want to stay that side of the centre, which is wise, then try great barr/erdington. erm, or hockley/jewellery quater? right by the centre but some decent places and easy to get to most places north of the centre from there.
Could try Selly Oak? It's not perfect but some bits are alright, and it's good in terms of bus and train routes into the city centre. Otherwise Harborne (some bits are pricey), likewise Edgbaston, Bournville aren't too bad.
To be honest tho, a lot of places in Birmingham have their good and bad spots. But definitely in agreement that Washwood Heath, Nechells, Aston, Lozells etc are not good places. I'd also add the same for Sparkbrook, Sparkhill, Tysely, Weoley Castle and places like that. Not places I'd fancy wanting to live too much