10 College Towns with the Lowest Cost of Living

How does one figure out a good college to attend? Well, you consider your needs and expectations for starters. You base your decision on your current location, your desired location, or where your friends are. Sometimes, students also consider attending a university where a family member went to. But here’s a tip that works for every college student: find one that fits your financial situation. Explore your options based on cost of living and settle for a good college town that doesn’t burden you with a ridiculously high cost of living. You don’t have to part of the staggering college loan statistics.

Consider your spending habits when choosing a college. Typically, you worry about tuition, textbooks, personal expenses, equipment, room and board, and other school fees. You can stretch your dollar and learn money management skills but with the rising prices of commodities and services–in college included–you can only do so much budgeting.

That said, you also need to know that while some colleges offer the lowest tuition rates, living expenses within the town that they belong to may outweigh such a benefit.

We’ve put together a list of 10 college towns that offer affordable options for students. Based on current costs of living data, these towns met specific parameters to highlight reasonable expenses like housing, food, taxes, health care, transportation, and utilities. Room and board for on- and off-campus students studying four-year college degrees are taken into account as well.

Take a quick peek into what each of the 10 most affordable college towns in the U.S. has to offer:

10. Redding, California

The cost of living is high in most cities in California but not in Redding. A single-bedroom apartment in Redding rents for $840 per month on the average. Students also get a better value at top-rated liberal arts college Simpson University than any other private colleges in Northern California. Tuition costs about $27,250 but the on-campus room and board amount to $8,140 per year. Plus, the town offers various outdoor activities for recreation.


9. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Cost of living index for this city is at 65.88 which means it is much lower than the most expensive city in the US by more than 50%. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is at $700 per month. To name one university, they have the famous Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne with a tuition fee of $20,005 and an on-campus room and board rate of $9,345 for an academic year. Plus, the city offers free public transport to the university. A great gift for those on a tight budget! With its low cost of living and peaceful neighborhoods, this town is sure to be on everybody’s list.


8. Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock is home to affordable housing stock. Cost of living is at 60.24 and average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is at $778.70 for this town. Philander Smith College offers $8250 for their annual on-campus room and board fee with a tuition fee of only $12,714 for an academic year. This town is a great mix of breathtaking views, some good meal, good music and home to some of the famous festivals in the country. What more could you ask for?


7. Huntsville, Alabama

The Rocket City is unquestionably affordable. From groceries to dining and everything else, this city rocks! It has a remarkable cost of living index of 59.8. As presented by Numbeo, this city has an average of $860.82 monthly rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment. Oakwood University’s tuition fee average is estimated at $16,720. Its annual on-campus room and board rate are at $9,700 and that’s below the average rate for colleges (which is at $10,800).


6. Lubbock, Texas

One of the most admirable colleges in Texas is Texas Tech University, aside from having a good reputation and a bunch of majors to choose from, the school offers $3,675 for an On-campus room and board (for double to triple occupancy). There is no doubt that this city has one of the most affordable housing costs in Texas. Average price for one-bedroom apartment rent in Lubbock is at $671.88 per month. Its cost of living is at 62.4–that’s 37.6% less expensive than New York. Not to mention, Lubbock is one of the cities with the shortest commute. This city means less spending, less traffic, fewer worries, less stress!


5. Oklahoma City

Although the city’s cost of living index is at 61.72 which is lower than the previous city, the housing cost is one of the highest on this list. The city has $857.06 on the average for a one-bedroom apartment. Let’s take one of the major colleges in OKC, Oklahoma City University. On-campus room and board rate are at $8,624 for an academic year. But the city has a good job market with the low cost of living, proving that you can get the most of your dollars. There is much more to see and experience in this wonderful city.


4. Tucson, Arizona

In addition to wide open spaces and beautiful sunsets, runner’s den and climber’s haven, Tucson is known for its rich history. One of its historical treasures is University of Arizona. It is one of the oldest and most recognized institutions in the country. The city does not have the lowest cost of living index in this list (which is at 63.35), but its local housing cost is below the national average. The average monthly rate for a one-bedroom apartment is only at $705. That means a lot of savings for the students who live off campus. On the other hand, on-campus room and board rate for an academic year at the University of Arizona is at $6,200 (for double occupancy).


3. Toledo, Ohio

One of the biggest factors for its low cost of living index (of 60.35) is its affordable housing. Toledo also boasts some of the best schools in Ohio and was ranked as one of the best places to live in the country. The city’s average apartment rate for a single-bedroom is only $642, making it easily one of the lowest on this list. University of Toledo has a rate of $11,005 for its on-campus room and board for an academic year. Needless to say, students should choose off-campus housing to save When it comes to living expenses, your cash will go a long way in this city.


2. Mobile, Alabama

Alabama’s cost of living is lower than any other state. Great deals for lodging in this state is not hard to find especially in the city of Mobile. Average price for a one-bedroom apartment is at $776.83. You will find that this metropolitan area has some historical neighborhoods with circa-1800-style exterior for most houses and buildings, but the interiors are renewed and refinished. All surprisingly at very low prices. University of Southern Alabama offers on-campus room and board for only $7, 490 for an academic year. If you are a football enthusiast, this state is for you. Everyone watches college football and no one dares miss it.


1. Springfield, Missouri

This town is remarkably affordable compared to the national average. Its cost of living index is at 60.56 and housing costs are unexpectedly lower than other towns. The price for a single bedroom apartment is only $592 a month. Missouri State University sets the price for on-campus room and board at $8,755 and that includes meals! Great savings for students, indeed!