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How much it costs to live off campus in expensive college towns

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student life at stanford university campus tour 8334You’re paying a premium for convenience.Melia RobinsonStudents are heading back in droves to college campuses around the country this month.

One major perk about returning for your second year is trading in the dorms for off-campus living. But while that may feel freeing — no more curfew! — renting an apartment or house that’s convenient to class and your favorite dining halls won’t come cheap in some areas.

HomeUnion, a real-estate investment management firm, recently released a list of the college towns with the highest off-campus rents. Looking at US colleges with enrollment above 15,000, they analyzed the median rent within a two-mile radius of campus and compared it to the metro area’s market-rate rent.

In the most expensive places, students pay anywhere from 21% to 85% above market rate to rent housing within two miles of campus. That’s a blow to anyone’s budget, especially for those living in an already pricey market. Consider California’s Bay Area, Orange County, or Los Angeles — students of select colleges in those areas can expect to pay above $4,000 a month for housing close to campus.

“To minimize living expenses, students in high-rent areas like the Bay Area, Boston and Washington, D.C., can rent properties further than two miles from campus or choose to have roommates in a rental home,” said Steve Hovland, director of research for HomeUnion.

“But if these options are still too expensive for them, and debt burden is a major concern, students can choose to attend universities in Sunbelt markets,” he said. Indeed, the least expensive markets for off-campus renters are in Florida and Texas, according to HomeUnion.

Below, find out where college students are paying far above market price to live off campus.


20. University of Massachusetts, Boston

Location: South End – Boston, Massachusetts

Median rent: $3,127

Percent above market rate: 21.2%

19. Ohio State University

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Median rent: $1,649

Percent above market rate: 23%

18. Boston University

18. Boston University

Maddie Meyer/Getty

Location: Back Bay – Boston, Massachusetts

Median rent: $3,198

Percent above market rate: 24%

17. Northeastern University

Location: Back Bay – Boston, Massachusetts

Median rent: $3,223

Percent above market rate: 24.9%

16. Harvard University

16. Harvard University

Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/Shutterstock

Location: Cambridge – Boston, Massachusetts

Median rent: $3,352

Percent above market rate: 29.9%

15. University of Texas, Dallas

Location: Richardson – Dallas, Texas

Median rent: $2,133

Percent above market rate: 30.1%

14. University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Location: Amherst, Massachusetts

Median rent: $2,465

Percent above market rate: 31.7%

13. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Median rent: $1,843

Percent above market rate: 31.9%

12. University of Washington

12. University of Washington

Wikimedia Commons

Location: University District – Seattle, Washington

Median rent: $3,126

Percent above market rate: 32.3%

11. University of California, Davis

Location: Davis – Sacramento, California

Median rent: $2,499

Percent above market rate: 33.1%

10. Florida Atlantic University

Location: Boca Raton – West Palm Beach, Florida

Median rent: $2,786

Percent above market rate: 34.1%

9. University of California, Berkeley

Location: Berkeley – Oakland, California

Median rent: $4,134

Percent above market rate: 34.2%

8. University of California, Irvine

8. University of California, Irvine

Genaro Molina-Pool/Getty

Location: Irvine, California

Median rent: $4,372

Percent above market rate: 43.4%

7. West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Location: Westchester – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Median rent: $2,292

Percent above market rate: 46.8%

6. University of Miami

Location: Coral Gables – Miami, Florida

Median rent: $3,097

Percent above market rate: 47%

5. Michigan State University

5. Michigan State University

Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Location: East Lansing, Michigan

Median rent: $1,715

Percent above market rate: 58.6%

4. George Washington University

4. George Washington University

Facebook/The George Washington University

Location: Washington D.C.

Median rent: $3,417

Percent above market rate: 59.3%

3. Georgetown University

Location: Georgetown – Washington D.C.

Median rent: $3,433

Percent above market rate: 60%

2. Stanford University

Location: Palo Alto – San Jose, California

Median rent: $6,066

Percent above market rate: 68.3%

1. University of California, Los Angeles

1. University of California, Los Angeles

Kevork Djansezian/Getty

Location: Westwood – Los Angeles, California

Median rent: $5,158

Percent above market rate: 85.2%

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