The cost difference between living on- and off-campus in the 48 biggest college towns in America, ranked
Jordan Silverman/Getty Images
Jordan Silverman/Getty Images
- With the cost of college already at an all-time high, is it more affordable to live on campus or off campus?
- Trulia recently took a look at how much it costs to live on campus and off campus in 48 of America's biggest college towns.
- In more than half of the places, it was either the same price or cheaper to live off campus, with an average savings of $219 a month - but there are a few caveats.
But what's more affordable - the dorm room on campus or an apartment off campus? Well, that answer depends on which college you attend and which college town you're living in.
Trulia recently took a look at how much it costs to live on campus and off campus in 48 of America's biggest college towns. To determine this list, Trulia chose US Census-defined places of at least 45,000 people, 20% of which were enrolled in college or graduate school.
Consulting the website of the largest college or university in each place, the site then calculated on-campus housing costs for a full nine-month academic year based on monthly or per-semester rates, excluding meal plans where possible.
Trulia then compared on-campus monthly housing costs to the median estimated monthly cost of a two-bedroom home in a 12-month rental in each place, assuming the cost was split in half between two roommates and divided over nine months to match the academic year.
In more than half of the places, it was either the same price or cheaper to live off campus, with an average savings of $219 a month for those with a roommate. However, eight of these places include meal plans in the on-campus housing costs - if removed, that brings the average savings down to $146 a month. And, most utilities aren't included in off-campus rentals, which could lessen the savings once factored in.
For the 20 places where on-campus housing was more affordable, students would save an average of $221 a month. Note that none of these included a meal plan.
Below, see how much it costs to live on- and off-campus in America's biggest college towns. Starred on-campus monthly housing costs indicate that a meal plan was included in the estimate.
48. Kansas State University — Manhattan, Kansas
47. University of Wisconsin-Madison — Madison, Wisconsin
46. California State University Chico — Chico, California
45. University of Kansas — Lawrence, Kansas
44. University of Iowa — Iowa City, Iowa
43. Oregon State University — Corvallis, Oregon
42. University of Arkansas — Fayetteville, Arkansas
41. Liberty University — Lynchburg, Virginia
40. University of Michigan — Ann Arbor, Michigan
39. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
38. Arizona State University — Tempe, Arizona
37. Indiana University, Bloomington — Bloomington, Indiana
36. University of Florida — Gainesville, Florida
35. Excelsior College — Albany, New York
34. Harvard University — Cambridge, Massachusetts
33. Western Michigan University — Kalamazoo, Michigan
32. Western Kentucky University — Bowling Green, Kentucky
31. Western Washington University — Bellingham, Washington
30. Auburn University — Auburn, Alabama
29. Texas A&M University — College Station, Texas
28. University of North Dakota — Grand Forks, North Dakota
27. University of Missouri — Columbia, Missouri
26. East Carolina University — Greenville, North Carolina
25. University of Georgia — Athens, Georgia
24. Texas State University — San Marcos, Texas
23. Iowa State University —Ames, Iowa
22. University of Alabama — Tuscaloosa, Alabama
21. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse — La Crosse, Wisconsin
20. Towson University — Towson, Maryland
19. Brigham Young University — Provo, Utah
18. Florida State University — Tallahassee, Florida
17. University of California Santa Cruz — Santa Cruz, California
16. Rutgers University — New Brunswick, New Jersey
15. Oklahoma State University — Stillwater, Oklahoma
14. Illinois State University — Normal, Illinois
13. University of North Texas — Denton, Texas
12. University of California, Berkeley — Berkeley, California
11. University of California, Davis — Davis, California
10. Northern Arizona University — Flagstaff, Arizona
9. University of Colorado, Boulder — Boulder, Colorado
8. Colorado State University — Fort Collins, Colorado
7. University of South Carolina — Columbia, South Carolina
6. James Madison University — Harrisonburg, Virginia
5. Michigan State University — Lansing and East Lansing, Michigan
4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — Champaign, Illinois
3. California Polytechnic State University — San Luis Obispo, California
2. University of Oklahoma — Norman, Oklahoma
1. Ball State University — Muncie, Indiana
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