The RentHop College Rent Report: October 2023

In this first edition of the RentHop College Rent Report, we sought to understand how the current rise in housing prices nationwide has affected college and university students. To find out, we analyzed all off-campus housing listings near popular U.S. colleges to see which schools had the cheapest and most expensive off-campus housing options.

Key Findings:

  • New York University has the most expensive off-campus housing among the 150 largest U.S. colleges. The median rent around the campus is $4,800 per month.
  • That’s six times higher than the median rent, $800/month, around Ball State University in Muncie, IN.
  • Off-campus housing is generally more expensive in coastal cities than schools in the Midwest and South.
  • In places like New York and Los Angeles, it’s practically impossible for students to live on their own. Most would need multiple roommates to make off-campus housing an affordable option.

The 10 Schools Where It’s Most Expensive to Live Off-Campus

The list below highlights the most expensive colleges for off-campus housing. Not surprisingly, most of these schools are located in coastal cities with higher living costs. The median rent around New York University is $4,800, six times higher than the median rental cost around Ball State University in Muncie, IN. Housing around these schools is so expensive that it is nearly impossible for most students to live alone. Most students will need multiple roommates to make rent somewhat affordable.

​​Meanwhile, many schools in the LA metro within the University of California system also rank as some of the most expensive colleges for off-campus housing. At UC Irvine, students can expect to spend $3,975 monthly living off-campus. Rental units around UC San Diego, while slightly cheaper, still require a monthly commitment of $3,495.

The 10 Most Expensive Colleges for Off-Campus Housing

  1. New York University (New York, NY) – $4,800/month median rent
  2. Columbia University in the City of New York (New York, NY) – $4,102/month
  3. University of California Irvine (Irvine, CA) – $3,975/month
  4. University of California Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA) – $3,895/month
  5. University of California Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) – $3,699/month
  6. University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) – $3,650/month
  7. Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) – $3,600/month
  8. Stanford University (Stanford, CA) – $3,595/month
  9. Boston University (Boston, MA) – $3,500/month
  10. University of California San Diego (San Diego, CA) – $3,495/month

The 10 Schools Where It’s Most Affordable to Live Off-Campus

Contrary to what we see in coastal cities, housing around colleges in the Midwest and parts of the South is generally more affordable. At Ball State University, students can find housing for as little as $800/month. Meanwhile, those attending Michigan State University can expect to allocate around $975 a month on off-campus housing, less than half of what students at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor would need to spend, $2,100/month.

The 10 Most Affordable Colleges for Off-Campus Housing

  1. Ball State University (Muncie, IN) – $800/month median rent
  2. Clemson University (Clemson, SC) – $835/month
  3. Iowa State University (Ames, IA) – $870/month
  4. University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA) – $875/month
  5. Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, TX) – $902/month
  6. West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV) – $912.50/month
  7. Kent State University (Kent, OH) – $922.50/month
  8. University of Missouri (Columbia, MO) – $927.50/month
  9. University of Nebraska–Lincoln (Lincoln, NE) – $970/month
  10. Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) – $975/month

The U.S. Has a Student Housing Affordability Crisis

America’s student housing affordability crisis has worsened in the past few years. Rental prices across the country have increased significantly over the past few years since the pandemic due to dwindling supply and population shift. Such drastic rent growth forced students to compete with more renters for lower-priced units. In cities like New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Miami, it is practically impossible for an average college student to rent a one-bedroom apartment on their own. Renting with roommates is the only way to secure housing.

Rising interest rates also intensified the student housing crisis. As mortgage rates go up, more renters delay their home purchase and stay renting, and supply struggles to catch up with the demand.

Affording Off-Campus Housing

High school students, undergraduate underclassmen, potential graduate students, and family members who will help their students with college finances can all consider a school’s off-campus housing costs. Paying for housing while in school can be expensive, and students should budget for this additional cost. Students can work a job on or off campus or acquire an additional loan to cover the upfront housing costs. Additional loans must be repaid with interest, and students should be mindful of their post-graduate expenses as they head into the workforce. 


The RentHop College Rent Report analyzes rental data from over one million active off-campus rental listings located near U.S. college campuses over the three months prior to publication. To produce the ranking, the median price for all listings within 2 miles of the center of campus was taken and ranked from most expensive to least. If there were not enough listings within 2 miles of the campus, we then expanded the radius to ensure that enough listings were included. In denser and more developed cities, the radius was reduced accordingly to reflect housing availability around the campus.

The following listing types were used to calculate the median rent price: apartment, house, townhouse, and triplex. Values refer to the median of all bedroom types, i.e., not just a one-bedroom or two-bedroom off-campus apartment.

For more information on our methodology or to contact our data team, please email

Full Data

Here are two images of the schools ranked by median rent for easy sharing. You can also search by city or college using the interactive data table at the bottom of the report.

(Click on the image to zoom in) (Click on the image to zoom in)

Interactive Data Table

Entries in the interactive data table are ordered by enrollment population.

You May Also Like