Brian Carberry

It’s a big week for college football fans.

The season is about to kick off and the AP released its first Top 25 rankings of the year. But, to be honest, we’re more interested in the AG Top 25.

Apartment Guide hit the books and used RentPath data to find the average one- and two-bedroom rent in cities with sufficient active multifamily listings. We then selected areas with colleges or universities in the Power 5 conferences to come up with our 2018 preseason list of 25 affordable college towns for renters.

So grab that shirt in your team’s colors and one of those pointy foam fingers, and get ready to cheer on these college towns with affordable rental prices!

10 Most Affordable College Towns in America

most affordable college towns

The 10 universities we’ve highlighted as the most affordable college towns for renters cover a wide area of the country, from southern Arizona to Central New York. Here’s a quick breakdown of the college towns and what you can expect to pay for rent.

1. Fayetteville, AR

fayetteville ar

Home to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR comes in as the most affordable town on our list when you factor in one- and two-bedroom rental rates. The fans in Fayetteville may not have much to cheer about this football season, but at least they can brag about their affordable rental prices.

Property Size Fayetteville, AR Average
1 BR $662
2 BR $725

2. Lubbock, TX

lubbock tx

The first of the two Texas cities on the list, Lubbock is home to Texas Tech University and the country’s second most affordable rental rates among college towns. Residents of this All-American college town will likely be bragging about their high ranking to every University of Texas fan they see.

Property Size Lubbock, TX Average
1 BR $664
2 BR $842

3. Tucson, AZ

tucson az

Tucson, AZ is one of the hottest (literally) picks coming into the season. Fans at the University of Arizona are feeling the heat and hoping their college town can live up to its lofty preseason affordability ranking.

Property Size Tucson, AZ Average
1 BR $693
2 BR $838

4. Lincoln, NE

lincoln ne

A traditional powerhouse looking to return to prominence, Lincoln, NE comes in at fourth on our list of affordable college towns. The University of Nebraska faithful are buzzing with excitement – not just for football, but to see how Lincoln performs in terms of affordability throughout the season.

Property Size Lincoln, NE Average
1 BR $784
2 BR $949

5. Syracuse, NY

syracuse ny

The people of Syracuse, NY are used to seeing their namesake university represented on Top 25 lists. However, that list is usually for basketball. Still, Syracuse University fans are undoubtedly cheering about their city’s high AG ranking and affordable rent.

Property Size Syracuse, NY Average
1 BR $848
2 BR $934

6. Athens, GA

athens ga

Just about an hour east of Atlanta, you’ll find Athens, GA and the University of Georgia. The Dawgs look to be another national championship favorite on the field, and Athens is a strong contender to be named one of the most affordable college towns at the end of the season.

Property Size Athens, GA Average
1 BR $857
2 BR $930

7. Winston-Salem, NC

winston-salem nc

Although generally overlooked in most Top 25 rankings in the fall, Winston-Salem, NC comes in as a strong seventh on our list of most affordable college towns. Home to Wake Forest University, residents here are cheering about the bragging rights they now have over those “other” North Carolina schools.

Property Size Winston-Salem, NC Average
1 BR $832
2 BR $979

8. College Station, TX

college station tx

The second school from the Lone Star State to make the top 10, College Station, TX has Texas-sized expectations to maintain its affordability this season. The students at Texas A&M University – one of the largest colleges in the country – have the same high hopes.

Property Size College Station, TX Average
1 BR $891
2 BR $939

9. Columbia, MO

columbia mo

Also suffering through a few recent down years on the football field, Columbia, MO is getting some attention on our list of affordable college towns. And even better news for University of Missouri fans? Kansas doesn’t appear in our rankings.

Property Size Columbia, MO Average
1 BR $879
2 BR $955

10. Lexington, KY

lexington, ky

Another college town that’s more accustomed to rankings in the spring, Lexington, KY rounds out our top 10. Whether or not rental rates around the University of Kentucky can hold up to their preseason expectations remains to be seen. If not, we guess we’ll just wait for basketball season.

Property Size Lexington, KY Average
1 BR $836
2 BR $1,016

Near You

The Complete AG Top 25 Affordable College Towns

As with any Top 25 list this time of year, it’s no surprise that college towns with schools in the SEC dominate the rankings. But don’t count out those cities with colleges and universities in the ACC or Big Ten.

Here’s the full list of affordable college towns for renters broken up by one- or two-bedroom rental prices.

Most Affordable College Towns for One-Bedroom Properties

*Source: RentPath internal data of active average one-bedroom apartment rental prices, August 2018.

Most Affordable College Towns for Two-Bedroom Properties

*Source: RentPath internal data of active average two-bedroom apartment rental prices, August 2018.
The rent information included in this article is based on current rental property inventory on and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.



About The Author

The managing editor of Apartment Guide and, Brian Carberry has more than 10 years' experience as a content creator and award-winning journalist. Brian's work has been featured on CNN, Search Engine Land, Randstad and a number of other organizations around the world. In his free time, Brian enjoys sports, cooking and debating the correct pronunciation of "gif."