How Affordable is Housing Near Major Universities?

August 23, 2019 | by Anna Orendain

It's back to school season, and college students around the nation are finalizing class schedules, buying textbooks, and exploring their future career options. And for many students, going back to school also means finding an affordable place to live near campus. But depending on where their college is located, finding affordable housing can be a challenge. 

In a recent study, RENTCafé investigates the affordability of rental properties near U.S. News & World Report's top 100 American universities. They do so by comparing the average rent of units within 1-2 miles of campus to the average rent of units across the city in which a university resides. 

For example, RENTCafé's top two schools for affordable housing within a mile of campus include the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which offers rental prices of $890 within a mile of the university (as compared to a city-wide average of $1,396), as well as the College of William and Mary, which has rental prices at $934 near campus (as compared to $1,191 average throughout Williamsburg). 

While RENTCafé does identify many U.S. schools that offer affordable housing near their campus, Texas' top universities all have surrounding rental prices that exceed their city's average.

  • Rice University (U.S. News #16)
    Average rent within 1 mile of campus: $2,419 (City of Houston: $1,100)
  • The University of Texas at Austin (U.S. News #49)
    Average rent within 1 mile of campus: $2,419 (Austin, TX: $1,378)
  • Southern Methodist University (U.S. News #59)
    Average rent within 1 mile of campus: $1,570 (City of Dallas: $1,207)
  • Texas A&M University (U.S. News #66)
    Average rent within 1 mile of campus: $1,451 (City of College Station: $1,176)
  • Baylor University (U.S. News #78)
    Average rent within 1 mile of campus: $1,356 (City of Waco: $954)
  • Texas Christian University (U.S. News #80)
    Average rent within 1 mile of campus: $1,964 (City of Fort Worth: $1,096)

Students who struggle to find affordable housing options may have to take on more debt to pay their rent, which can affect their ability to buy a home later in life. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, 83% of non-homeowner millennials cited student loan debt as they reason they couldn’t save for a down payment.

Not to mention, when students spend more on rent, they also may have to cut back on other necessities like quality food, reliable transportation, and health care costs. Students may also get a demanding job in order to make rent, taking time away from their studies and hampering academic success.  

One way or another, costly rent prices create obstacles to success for students across the country. And because the housing prices near Texas' top universities are all higher than the local average, some of the state's best students are being saddled with financial woes that may put a damper on their financial future.

So this back to school season, Texas students hoping for a successful future will need pencils, paper, textbooks, and more options for affordable places to live. 

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

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