The day-to-day costs rung up by a typical college student don’t end at tuition. Regardless of how hefty your financial aid package is, you still have the “hidden costs” of college life to cover.
Time Magazine lists 12 — everything from books, to dorm furnishings, to dining out, to your mobile phone plan. If you choose to live or eat off campus, that will cost you, as well.
For cost-conscious students (and their parents), of course, the best way to control your spending is through strict budgeting and tracking your finances. But while it’s always good to live within your means, your means can go up or down depending on where you live.
If you go to college in an area with a lost cost of living, you’ll find you have extra money to spend on the fun stuff.
Indiana: The Low-Cost State
Indiana is one of the most affordable states in the nation. Indiana cities captured the first three spots in Niche’s 2017 listing of American cities with the lowest cost of living. So if you already decided to go to college in Indiana, you’re already on your way to maximizing your student budget.
If you live outside of Indiana, you can still have an affordable college experience there. Reciprocity agreements allow students from certain counties in Ohio to pay in-state tuition in Indiana. And the cost of a state school in Indiana may compare favorably to private schools in your state.
In certain Indiana college towns, however, your dollar will go farther than in others. Let’s take a look at a few of the most affordable cities in Indiana.
Home to: Ball State University
Cost of living (compared to a national average of 100, according to Sperling’s Best Places): 76.30
It’s affordable because: Housing is especially cheap in Muncie. Sperling gives Muncie housing prices a score of 39, well below the national average of 100. Business Insider proclaimed Muncie the Most Affordable College Town in America, citing its low housing costs, as well as its proximity to larger cities, such as Indianapolis.
Spend your extra money at: The National Model Aviation Museum, whose collection includes 9,000 artifacts such as model airplanes, radio systems, engines, building tools and equipment, and aviation memorabilia.
Home to: University of Notre Dame
Cost of living (compared to a national average of 100, according to Sperling’s Best Places): 77.10
<b'>It’s affordable because: Despite hosting one of the most well-known universities in the country, South Bend is surprisingly affordable. Costs for housing, groceries, and utilities are below the national averages, which might help offset the steep price of private tuition at Notre Dame.
Spend your extra money at: The Studebaker National Museum, which celebrates all things related to the historic car maker.
Cost of living (compared to a national average of 100, according to Sperling’s Best Places): 81.20
It’s affordable because: In naming Fort Wayne the American City with the lowest cost of living, Niche considered the cost of housing there alongside the average income of residents. The economy is growing in Indiana’s second-most populated city and residents — including the 9,000+ students of IPFW — are making the most of it.
Spend your extra money at: Any of these 12 things to do and places to visit in Fort Wayne before you graduate.
Home to: Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis and a handful of private colleges
Cost of living (compared to a national average of 100, according to Sperling’s Best Places): 90.40
It’s affordable because: If you like big city life, Indianapolis is one of the more affordable choices in the country. Despite a population similar to mega-expensive cities like San Francisco, living costs in Indianapolis are below the national average.
Spend your extra money at: Lucas Oil Stadium, of course, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. If you love sports but hate spending big money, the minor league Indianapolis Indians have been a local favorite during baseball season since 1902.
An Affordable School in an Affordable City
Fort Wayne is one of the most affordable cities in Indiana and IPFW is one of the best values you can find in higher education. To learn more about life and learning at IPFW, click below for your free copy of our viewbook.