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Don't Dismiss Small-Town CollegesV. Peter Pitts, M.A.
Choosing a college or university is an important decision for you and your college-bound teen. One of the factors families consider is affordability. Higher education in America isn't cheap. A study by The Economist found that 14 out of the 19 most expensive universities in the world are in the U.S.
In most cases, these elite colleges and universities are located in cities or towns with a high cost of living. If your student's heart isn't set on an Ivy League university, choosing a college in a city or town with a lower cost of living can significantly reduce the overall cost of a college degree.
Moving Feedback conducted research into the most affordable college towns in America based on factors that include:
The research revealed that the top 10 college cities with the lowest cost of living are:
Springfield tops the list for the lowest rent for a one-bedroom apartment at only $592 per month, while the cheapest on-campus accommodation is at the University of Arizona at $6,200 per year.
Choosing to study in another city or state means paying for housing. If your student is pursuing a bachelor's degree out of state, you'll be paying housing costs for four years. On-campus residences can be expensive, but renting an off-campus apartment in one of the top college towns can also be prohibitive.
So which college town has the cheapest rentals? Apartment Guide did some research and found the most affordable college towns for renters are located in the Midwest and the South.
You can compare off-campus housing options for one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Sharing a two or three-bedroom apartment with fellow students can make a rental more affordable.
Here are the top 10 college towns for cheap apartment rentals, according to Apartment Guide:
Clearly, Iowa is budget-friendly for renters, with two cities making the list. What's more, Iowa renters insurance, which is advisable for students renting off-campus apartments, only costs $124 per year according to Ross Martin from The Zebra. That's a little over $10 a month and $61 less than the national average.
Columbia, MO and Manhattan, KS are tied in fourth place.
Note that Lubbock, TX and Oklahoma feature on both the lowest cost of living and most renter-friendly lists.
If you are on a tight budget, there are a few more strategies for lowering the costs of your student's college education.
While costs are a major consideration when choosing a college, there are other factors you and your student shouldn't overlook:
Like most parents, you want to provide the best opportunities for your children. But with the rising costs of higher education, finding the ideal home away from home for your college student can be a challenge. In some cases, attending school out-of-state may be surprisingly less expensive in a city with a lower cost of living.
Senior year is here! It’s an exciting chapter for your high school senior, with lots to do. We’re here to help you both along the way.