The 10 most affordable cities for college students in 2018

From university tuition to cups of coffee, college is an expensive four years. These college towns have low rent, cheap beer, and a good minimum wage.

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With student loan debt currently totaling $1.52 trillion in the US, finances are a big consideration when choosing a university. While personal connection is an important factor in deciding where you go to school, oftentimes the school's tuition and living expenses also factor into the decision, said a recent report from

Using factors including city population, median rent of a one-bedroom apartment, average utility costs, cost of transportation, price of movie tickets, minimum wage, cost of a half-liter beer, and annual tuition, determined which college towns are the least expensive for students.

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The report designated Helena, Montana to be the most affordable option for students, with median rent being $680 per month, and Helena College University in-state tuition being $17,152 per year. Here's the full top 10 list:

  1. Helena, MT
  2. Lincoln, NE
  3. Augusta, ME
  4. Columbia, MO
  5. Colorado Springs, CO
  6. Eugene, OR
  7. Syracuse, NY
  8. Charleston, WV
  9. Jackson, MS
  10. Tempe, AZ

"Information like this is really helpful. Students need to make every choice possible to keep student loan debt from negatively impacting their lives," said Sara Molina, manager of AFBC, in a Monday press release.

Student debt is a problem for the majority of American graduates, oftentimes affecting where a person decides to live and what career they pursue. The list could also be useful for business leaders looking to hire recent graduates, as they can see where their city stacks up.

Click here for a more expansive view of's findings.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Helena, MT is the cheapest town for college students with low average rent for an apartment and low in-state tuition at Helena College University.
  • Knowing which cities are the cheapest for college students can help would-be attendees make a more informed decision about where to pursue schooling.

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Image: iStockphoto/Marc Bruxelle