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    19 Affordable College Towns 2021

    September 14, 2021 | Staff Writers

    19 Affordable College Towns
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    BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

    When choosing which college to attend it is important to consider the cost of living in the city the college is located. While a college may be within your budget, things like housing, supplies, and grocery store prices may not be. Take a look at some of the most affordable college towns here to see which universities are available in each town.

    For more schools check out our affordable colleges page.

    1

    Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

    This city is home to a great research school, the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The cost of living in Urbana-Champaign is 11.25% lower than the U.S. average, which makes it an enticing place for the shallow-pocketed college student. There is a college town atmosphere, and a highly educated population of 231,891 people, as of 2010.

    University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is one of the original 37 public land-grant institutions created after the Morrill Act was signed in 1862. There are 15 colleges available for research including a college of business, college of engineering, college of veterinary medicine, and more.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of a 1 Bedroom Apartment: $600 a Month
    Median Home Price: $108,200
    Median Age: 24
    2

    Cortland, New York

    Home to  SUNY college State University of New York College at Cortland, Cortland, New York has a cost of living that is 7.8% lower than the U.S. average.  Cortland has a small-town feel for being in New York, with only 19,204 people currently living in the city.

    The campus at State University of New York College at Cortland is 191 acres large with approximately 6,283 undergraduate, 643 graduate students in attendance. There are 68 undergraduate majors to choose from and 27 graduate degrees available.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $657 a Month
    Median Home Price: $93,900
    Median Age: 26.9
    3

    Kalamazoo, Michigan

    Kalamazoo, Michigan is home to the hornets of Kalamazoo College. The city has an 18.8% lower cost of living than the average town in the U.S. There are a number of college town amenities available, and the population is highly educated.

    Kalamazoo College is all about experiential education, giving students the kind of hands on learning that will help them in the future, and in the workplace. 92% of the faculty at Kalamazoo college have a Ph.D. or a terminal degree.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $692 a Month
    Median Home Price: $90,600
    Median Age: 25.9
    4

    Macomb, Illinois

    The cost of living in Macomb, Illinois is 13.3% lower than the average U.S. city, and the city has a low crime rate. Macomb is located southwest of Galesburg; about 75 miles southwest of Peoria, and 77 miles southeast of Quad cities. The city itself is only about 11 square miles large. Macomb, Illinois is home to the Leathernecks of Western Illinois University.

    The campus of Western Illinois University is over 1,000 acres large with 64 main buildings.  The average undergraduate class has 19 students or less, and the faculty to student ratio is 14:1. There are 64 undergraduate degree programs available, 34 graduate degree programs, two doctoral programs and six pre-professional degree programs. Among the 64 undergraduate degree programs are Western’s 12 signature academic programs, which are unique to Western, and in some instances, the state and the nation.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $686 a Month
    Median Home Price: $95,800
    Median Age: 23.2
    5

    Muncie, Indiana

    Ball State University is located in the town of Muncie, Indiana. Because of the college atmosphere, people enjoy a cost of living that is 23.4% lower than the rest of the country.  There are also many local amenities available to all the young students. Those that live in the town of Muncie are also able to enjoy low crime rates, and high graduation rates.

    Ball State University is a state-assisted residential university with about 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students in attendance each year. The school was founded in 1918.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $652 a Month
    Median Home Price: $69,100
    Median Age: 28 28
    6

    Waterloo, Iowa

    Waterloo has a small-town lifestyle with lots of outdoor recreation opportunities. It is home to Allen College, and has a cost of living 20% lower than the average U.S. city.

    Allen College is a health care education institute with over 90 years of experience in the industry. Allen College is committed to preparing outstanding healthcare practitioners who are committed to lifelong learning. Discover the 7 undergraduate and graduate degrees available at Allen College here.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $635 a Month
    Median Home Price: $87,800
    Median Age: 35.7
    7

    Akron, Ohio

    Akron is home to the The University of Akron. This college town has a 20.1% lower cost of living than the average U.S. city. Akron is close to Cleveland, and has a revitalizing economy.

    The University of Akron’s College of Business Administration is one of only 2% of business schools worldwide that have dual AACSB accreditation in business and accounting. There is an average of approximately 25,000 students enrolled each semester.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $673 a Month
    Median Home Price: $60,200
    Median Age: 35.7
    8

    Durant, Oklahoma

    Southeastern Oklahoma State University is located in the heart of Durant, Oklahoma. This college town has a 20.3% lower cost of living than the U.S. average,  with sunny weather, high graduation rates, and many local amenities.

    With a mascot like “Savage Storm,” how could Southeastern Oklahoma State University not be an amazing University.  The top five majors at Southeastern Oklahoma State University are; Elementary Education, Biology; Occupational Safety & Health; Psychology; Health & Physical Education.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $637 a Month
    Median Home Price: $82,300
    Median Age: 30.4
    9

    Pittsburg, Kansas

    Home to Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg has a  20.4% lower cost of living than average cities in the U.S.  There is lots of sunny weather, and great graduation rates.

    Pittsburg State University offers more than 150 educational programs. With reasonably priced tuition and financial aid opportunities, Pittsburg State University is a great place for any student looking to learn. The University is committed to preparing students for satisfying careers.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $655 a Month
    Median Home Price: $81,200
    Median Age: 25.7
    10

    Monticello, Arkansas

    Home to the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Monticello, Arkansas, has a cost of living 20.8% lower than average U.S. cities. There is lots of sunshine to go around in Monticello, as well as grocery stores, health care centers, and easy to find transportation.

    University of Arkansas at Monticello is home to 1,600 plus acres with over 80 buildings, all built for students to come gain the knowledge of a lifetime. The University provides 7 associate degree programs, 31 undergraduate programs, 6 graduate degree programs, and 17 technical certificates.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $601 a Month
    Median Home Price: $85,600
    Median Age: 32.5
    11

    Williamsburg, Kentucky

    University of the Cumberlands is located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. This college town has a 20.9% lower cost of living, low crime rates, and fairly warm weather.

    University of the Cumberlands has been providing students of all backgrounds a first-class, liberal arts education within a Christian context. At Cumberlands students find small class sizes, faculty committed to the success of their students, and a love of the rich history in Williamsburg and at the University itself.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $521 a Month
    Median Home Price: $77,000
    Median Age: 37
    12

    Peru, Nebraska

    Home to the Peru State bobcats, Peru, Nebraska has a 24.2% lower cost of living than the average U.S. city.  There are low crime rates, and a number of great amenities available to those that live in this college town.

    Peru State College is up in the hills of southeast Nebraska, near the Missouri river. The college offers a mix of online and traditional classes all committed to building students that will be a benefit to the community. Peru State College uses the backgrounds and differences between the students to create a culture of ownership, inclusion, and leadership.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $478 a Month
    Median Home Price: $56,900
    Median Age: 21.2
    13

    Buffalo, New York

    Buffalo is a very livable city; the cost of living is 26% lower than the U.S. average, the town has high graduation rates, and plenty of local amenities. Buffalo is a great college town for anyone looking to attend the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York College at Buffalo, or one of the many other community colleges in the area.

    University at Buffalo is a research-intensive public university; the University and staff are dedicated to academic excellence for all students. This SUNY school is the largest and most comprehensive campus in the 64-campus SUNY system. It includes division I athletics, over 2,000 staff members, and an average enrollment of almost 30,00 students.

    State University of New York College at Buffalo is all about hands-on learning and providing its students with the opportunities to try things for themselves. Both the school and its faculty are committed to helping students become more confident in life, learning, and their futures.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $672 a Month
    Median Home Price: $54,600
    Median Age: 33.3
    14

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Memphis is home to a number of colleges and universities; University of Memphis, Rhodes College, Christian Brothers University, the Memphis College of Art, and more! This college town has many entertainment opportunities, lots of cultural experiences, and the cost of living is 36.6% lower than the average city in the U.S., all of which make it a great town to live in for an amazing college experience.

    The University of Memphis is a flagship institution of the Tennessee Board of Regents system. It is a public research university with intensive studies available in Earthquake Research and Information, the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, the former Lambuth University campus (now a branch campus of the university), the Loewenberg College of Nursing, the School of Public Health, the College of Communication and Fine Arts, the FedEx Institute of Technology, the Advanced Distributed Learning Workforce Co-Lab, the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, and more.

    Rhodes College is a national, four-year, private, coeducational, residential college committed to the liberal arts and sciences. The school believes in intellectual engagement, and serving others. The school offers hands on opportunities to students through service, internships, research, and more.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $805 a Month
    Median Home Price: $65,800
    Median Age: 33.1
    15

    Fayetteville, Arkansas

    Discover not only the joy of attending University of Arkansas, but living in Fayetteville Arkansas at the same time. The cost of living in Fayetteville is 8.9% lower than the U.S. average. The city is filled with sunny skies, a strong economy, and plenty of local activities.

    University of Arkansas offers 78 undergraduate majors and 86 master’s degree programs. Enrollment each year averages approximately 26,000 students. The campus overlooks the Ozark Mountains, and provides students with the opportunity to learn on a beautiful campus.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $672 a Month
    Median Home Price: $161,800
    Median Age: 27.9
    16

    Knoxville, Tennessee

    Knoxville is home to not only the University of Tennessee, but also Knoxville College, and a few other other beauty and tech schools. Residents enjoy sunny weather, gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains, and a 19.3% lower cost of living than the average U.S. city, with reasonable taxes.

    University of Tennessee is home to 11 colleges, and over 300 degree programs. There is a 17 to 1 student to faculty ratio and an approximate enrollment of 27,800 students each semester. The University of Tennessee is a research school with research expenditures of around $261 million.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $710 a Month
    Median Home Price: $109,20
    Median Age: 34
    17

    Conway, Arkansas

    Conway is home to the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, and Central Baptist College. Residents get to enjoy an 11.8% lower cost of living, a vibrant downtown, and even feel free to ride their bike around a bike friendly city.

    University of Central Arkansas is located just 30 miles north of Little Rock in Conway, population 57,000. The campus is 350 acres with 115 campus buildings. Student enrollment averages 11,700 students, and there is a 17 to 1 student to faculty ratio.

    Town Overview

    Average price of an Apartment: $707 a Month
    Median Home Price: $128,400
    Median Age: 27.6
    18

    Cedar City, Utah

    Students of Southern Utah University will enjoy living in a city with a 7.3% lower cost of living than the average U.S. city. Cedar city is also home to a stable housing market, is close to many national parks and monuments, include numerous golf courses, and is near many ski resorts.

    Southern Utah University has 15 NCAA athletic teams, 100 clubs and organizations, and 90% graduate acceptance rate into law schools. The school is located near many national and state parks, as well as numerous ski resorts with plenty of recreational activities.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $624 a Month
    Median Home Price: $153,300
    Median Age: 24.8
    19

    Columbus, Ohio

    Home to the public research university, Ohio State University, and the community college Columbus State, Columbus, Ohio is a great place for students to live. The housing market is incredibly stable, the cost of living is 17.9% lower than the average city in the U.S., it has a moderate climate, critically acclaimed arts, culinary and sports scenes, and more!

    Ohio State University offers over 12,000 courses for the approximate 58,000 students enrolled each semester. The campus is one of America’s largest and most comprehensive college campuses. There are 200 undergraduate majors, and 250 master’s, doctoral, and professional degree programs available at Ohio State University.

    Town Overview

    Average Price of an Apartment: $794 a Month
    Median Home Price: $95,900
    Median Age: 31.5

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