San Antonio among the least-pricy metros for college students renting apartments, but it's not cheap

A new analysis by online home-service company Porch ranked the San Antonio-New Braunfels area as the 12th most-affordable large metro for college students looking to rent an apartment.

click to enlarge Although the San Antonio-New Braunfels area is among the most affordable spots for students seeking housing, that doesn't mean finding accommodations is easy. - Unsplash / Sigmund
Unsplash / Sigmund
Although the San Antonio-New Braunfels area is among the most affordable spots for students seeking housing, that doesn't mean finding accommodations is easy.

Rent can put the squeeze on college students' already-tight budgets. Don't believe us? Rental prices are up 12.3% nationally since last year, according to a recent Apartment List study.

Even so, the San Antonio area's 60,000 college students can be thankful they're paying far less than counterparts attending schools in other metros, according to a separate report.  

A new analysis by online home-service company Porch ranked the San Antonio-New Braunfels area as the 12th most-affordable large metro for college students looking to rent an apartment.  

To create the rankings, researchers calculated the weighted average of off-campus room and board for the 2020-2021 academic year, excluding those living with family. Those metros with the lowest average ranked highest on the list. 

With an average total rent of $9,935 for the 2020-2021 academic year, students in the Alamo City are paying 2.1% below the national average for their off-campus cribs, according to the report.  

The Grand Rapids, Michigan; Nashville, Tennessee; and Louisville, Kentucky areas took home the respective top three spots as the most affordable big metros.

Meanwhile, California's Bay Area ranked as the most expensive for college renters, followed by New York's Tri-State region and the San Diego area.

Although San Antonio-New Braunfels ranked among the most affordable spots for students seeking housing, that doesn't mean finding accommodations is easy. First-generation and low-income students face significant hurdles, according to the study's authors. 

"Price pressures from rent are especially challenging for college students, especially first-generation college students and students from low-income families," Lauren Thomas, a Porch content creator and marketer, said in a written statement. "Students often lack the rental history or savings for deposits that help them get approved for a rental."

Around 43% of the University of San Antonio's 2020 first-year students were first-generation, according to the school. Additionally, more than 11,000 of its nearly 30,000 undergrads are considered low-income and receive federal Pell grants.

Even so, UTSA is one of several public universities in Texas to offer free tuition for eight semesters to low-income residents who graduated in the top 25% of their class.

But with the average rent in the Alamo City topping $1,220 a month in July, according to ApartmentData.com, and inflation near a 40-year-high, low-income students in San Antonio and beyond are disproportionately overburdened by rising living costs.

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