New study ranks Wichita as No. 1 affordable college town in the nation

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – For full time Wichita State University student Idalia Gomez who has three teenage sons, the low cost of living in Wichita is something she says she took into consideration when choosing what college to attend.

“At the moment I don’t work. So as much as we could save we did and compared to other colleges in the area, it was the best choice for me,” said Gomez.

Since Gomez has a family, she chooses to live off campus. The affordability of housing she said helps ease the cost of college.

“Having a little extra money to just do some shopping or buying groceries you have more options,” said Gomez.

A new study by Apartments.com and its parent company, CoStar Group ranks Wichita as the number one affordable college town in the nation. This as the average cost of rent per unit is $671, according to the study.

A ranking that WSU officials said could help bring more students to campus.

“Each student is so different and so we want to make sure their living arrangements are setting them up for success in the classroom,” said Elisha Satterfield, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at WSU. “The affordable housing in the Wichita community really does that it allows them to think and have to worry less about finances. So they can focus on their studies, focus on their academics, and their social life.”

KSN took a look at how Wichita compared to Lawrence and Manhattan home to the University of Kansas and Kansas State respectively. The average cost of rent per unit in Lawrence is $819 and in Manhattan it’s $781, according to researchers with CoStar Group.

Wichita’s average is $148 less than Lawrence and $110 less than Manhattan. In addition, The data shows the annual rent-to-income ratio is 20 percent in both Manhattan and Lawrence while Wichita sits at 16 percent.

Satterfield also believes the low cost of living could encourage students to make Wichita their home after college.

“We want to keep that talent, we want to keep our graduates here so the affordablity of the housing in the Wichita area is very important.”

Here’s a look at the other four cities rounding out the top five affordable college towns according to the study.

  1. Tulsa, OK
  2. Oklahoma City, OK
  3. Fargo, ND
  4. Huntsville, AL

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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