Tempe is One of the Top Affordable College Towns for 2018

For today’s students, coming up with enough money to attend college (and avoid graduating with a mountain of debt) is a significant challenge. Choosing a school in an affordable location is essential, particularly if a student wants the option of living off-campus.

Move.org recently released their list of the top 25 most affordable college towns in 2018, and Tempe makes the list in the number 10 spot. That’s good news for Tempe’s colleges and universities as well as for local landlords and business owners.

The Rising Price of College Tuition

How expensive is college in 2018? A CNBC report from 2017 revealed that the cost of attending college has outstripped the housing market and other expenses.

Let’s start with private colleges. In the 1987-1988 academic year, the average tuition was $15,160. By the 2017-2018 academic year, that figure had risen to an average of $34,740. That’s an increase of 129% in 30 years.

The costs are lower for public colleges and universities, but the increases have been even more dramatic than for private colleges. The average tuition in 1987-1988 was $3,190, and for the 2017-2018 school year the average was $9,970. That’s an increase of 212%.

Of course, some universities have outstripped the national average. A year of tuition at Harvard in 1988 cost about $17,000 and today it’s more than $44,000. That’s a 163% increase – well above some other private schools.

How Does Tempe Compare?

Tempe’s costs are quite affordable by comparison. The difference is due to an affordable housing market that offers reasonable rent to students who choose not to live in traditional campus housing.

To determine its most affordable college towns, Move.org considered three basic criteria. They are:

  • Living expenses, which accounted for 60% of the score
  • Travel costs, which accounted for 30%
  • Entertainment prices, which accounted for the final 10%

Of course, tuition is a key consideration. Tuition at Arizona State University, Tempe’s largest college, is higher than the national average. However, after financial aid the average tuition is just $11,000 – a price that makes it affordable for many.

The housing market in Tempe is quite reasonable. The median rate is $898.80, which is significantly lower than the national median of $1,405. One reason for high rents is that the demand for small apartments (such as the ones many students rent) now matches the demand for family-sized units.

Utility costs are quite reasonable in Tempe, too. The average monthly cost of utilities is $171.66. That number is low, especially when you consider that the average family pays $183 per month for energy alone. Some landlords in college towns like Tempe include one or more utilities in the rent – something to keep in mind if you’re apartment hunting in the area.

Moving costs in Tempe are in line with the cost of living. If you plan to hire a local moving company, you can expect reasonable prices.

The final consideration is entertainment costs. As you might expect, Tempe has plenty of low-cost entertainment options. Colleges like ASU, Brookline College, Bryan University, and the University of Phoenix offer on-campus entertainment for students as well.


Tempe ranks #10 on the list of affordable college towns for a reason. The reasonable rentals provide plenty of off-campus living for students, and the warm year-round weather makes Tempe an ideal place to spend your college years.

Here is campus tour video of ASU, Arizona’s top State school and located in Tempe.

Check out our storage facilities in Tempe and our moving to Tempe guide.  Or visit our local facility blog https://www.storagewest.com/facilities/tempe/facilityblog/

Posted in Local Businesses, Student Storage.