The most-expensive college towns in America when it comes to rent

1 week ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in News

One of the largest issues vexing young people — and their families — today is the cost of a college education. Student loans are a regular political election issue, and according to The College Board, the average total tuition, fees and room and board per year has now reached $20,770.

The overall listed price of attending a college is also increasing at an accelerating rate, too: in 1987, a private non-profit four-year college cost $15,160. In 2017, that same college cost $34,740.

It's no wonder, then, that parents and families are looking more closely at where they're sending their kids and deciding which schools offer the best bang for the buck.

While we can't answer that definitively, we can offer up to-the-moment data about the most expensive towns in which to rent a place for your new student, should they decide to move off-campus. We indexed, sorted, re-sorted, and compared collegestudentapartments.com ($COLLEGESTUDENTAPARTMENTS) and its more-than 81,000 apartment listings to determine the most expensive cities for America's top schools according to U.S. News & World Report, as well as America's schools that are perceived to offer the best college life in terms of a balance between money and education according to WalletHub. 

America's Best Colleges vs. Rent

Starting in 1983, U.S. News & World Report began publishing its "America's Best Colleges" report, and it quickly became the most-cited list of its kind in the U.S. Based on survey data, the list is often a mix of expected Ivy League schools and west-coast liberal arts colleges. While this year changes from year-to-year — besides Princeton being number one, it has held that spot for the past eight years — one thing is for certain: most of the schools on the list tend to be in some of America's most expensive cities when it comes to rent.

Most-expensive rent for the top-20 U.S. News and World Report Top University schools:

US News Rank

City

School

Listings

Average Rent

7

Palo Alto / Stanford

Stanford

8

$4,055.81

3

New York

Columbia

2,614

$3,945.07

2

Cambridge

Harvard

595

$3,241.39

3

Cambridge

MIT

595

$3,241.39

1

Princeton

Princeton

19

$2,996.95

19

Los Angeles

UCLA

850

$2,678.21

16

Ithaca

Cornell

42

$2,089.14

3

Chicago

University of Chicago

5,391

$1,973.95

14

Providence

Brown

37

$1,887.68

12

Hanover

Dartmouth

11

$1,867.27

10

Evanston

Northwestern

79

$1,777.92

8

Philadelphia

University of Pennsylvania

926

$1,737.03

12

Pasadena

CalTech

124

$1,729.72

14

Nashville

Vanderbilt

336

$1,471.82

16

Houston

Rice

4,870

$1,282.46

3

New Haven

Yale

183

$1,281.61

10

Baltimore

Johns Hopkins

436

$1,180.40

19

St. Louis

Washington

174

$1,136.11

8

Durham

Duke

59

$1,110.96

18

South Bend

Notre Dame

21

$1,100.00

Breaking news: Silicon Valley and New York are expensive places to live in.

California's Stanford University, in the middle of Silicon Valley, claims an average rent of $4,055.81. Coming in second is New York's Columbia University with an average rent of $3,945.07. Those looking for more of a bargain when it comes to housing costs during a four-year education should turn to Notre Dame ($1,100.00 average rent) or Duke ($1,1110.96 average).

America's Best College Towns vs. Rent

WalletHub's list seeks to find the "best college towns and cities in America". This includes consideration of Wallet Friendliness, Social Environment, and Academic & Economic Opportunities. Among the metrics WalletHub measures are housing costs and share of rental units along with other random things, such as "average cost of pizza & burgers" and "breweries per capita." Of course, it also considers quality of higher education and earning potential for graduates.

Most-expensive rent for the top-20 WalletHub "2018’s Best College Towns & Cities in America":

WalletHub Rank

City

Listings

Average Rent

16

Berkeley

310

$2,825.44

10

San Diego

389

$2,087.99

17

Seattle

728

$1,879.27

1

Ann Arbor

99

$1,654.80

11

Storrs

1

$1,495.00

7

Scottsdale

216

$1,485.88

5

Austin

4,137

$1,478.00

9

Tampa

196

$1,459.61

19

Portland

523

$1,454.66

2

Orlando

214

$1,451.70

14

East Amherst

3

$1,353.00

6

Las Vegas

130

$1,283.33

20

Charlottesville

31

$1,231.12

15

Orem

6

$1,158.80

3

Rexburg

6

$957.50

13

Gainesville

57

$822.78

8

West Lafayette

6

$821.67

18

College Station

90

$797.18

4

Provo

13

$790.00

12

East Lansing

206

$740.33

UC Berkeley offers a great education along with access to the Bay Area. But it comes at a cost: average rent in the area comes out to $2,825.44. San Diego, home of UC San Diego, is a somewhat-distant second with an average rent of $2,087.99. If you want to keep the bang-for-buck maximized, average rent in East Lansing, home of Michigan State, is only $740.33. For just a bit more, apartments around Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah command an average rent of $790.00.

Cities with the most listings

This study is of course limited to the data scraped. So, in the spirit of transparency, the table below includes which American cities had the most listings in collegestudentapartments.com's database. Of course, the more records a city has for apartments, the more reliable its average price for an apartment in that area is.

With that said, the table provides an interesting look at availability of housing in various college towns on its own.

City

Listings

Rent (Average)

1

Chicago

5,391

$1,973.95

2

Houston

4,870

$1,282.46

3

New York

2,614

$3,945.07

4

Austin

2,348

$1,376.71

5

Dallas

2,110

$1,336.15

6

Austin

1,789

$1,580.30

7

San Antonio

1,762

$1,013.65

8

Boston

1,583

$3,226.48

9

Philadelphia

926

$1,737.03

10

Columbus

887

$1,210.33

11

San Antonio

882

$1,247.30

12

Los Angeles

850

$2,678.21

13

Seattle

728

$1,879.27

14

Atlanta

710

$1,688.02

15

Brooklyn

676

$2,561.03

16

Miami

669

$2,708.45

17

Cambridge

595

$3,241.39

18

Portland

523

$1,454.66

19

Pittsburgh

512

$1,286.24

20

Denver

511

$1,780.17

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

Learn more about Thinknum data today Request demo

Request a demo

We would love to show you how Thinknum will benefit your investment process. To get started, fill out the form and we'll contact you shortly to schedule your demo.

The best of media, delivered to you

Get a newsletter of our most popular stories of the week.