For college students, the choice regarding where and what to spend money usually is based on costs and. value. The beachside apartment comes at a high cost and yet it’s right by the beach! Living in California is much the same like. There is no doubt that the Golden State is easily one of the most expensive states in America. It is home to:

  • beaches and mountains
  • wineries and top-of-the-line restaurants
  • Disneyland along with ski resorts

The costs might be high but it’s also an excellent quality of life. In the West Coast will always be a favorite destination for students in college. So we’ve helped out by finding the 20 most affordable towns for college in California when we consider both the cost of living and quality of life.

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The Methodology of Most Affordable Towns in California

Our editors started by compiling an inventory of each college town located in California. We then employed Sperling’s Best Places to rank each town’s general affordability. To figure out which towns in the college system are the most affordable We looked at the cost for:

  • housing
  • food
  • healthcare
  • transportation
  • utilities

We evaluated them against general and local averages.More Here https://www.youngupstarts.com/2022/11/02/5-cheap-places-to-live-in-california-for-college-students/ At our site We also looked at features such as:

  • Facilities
  • crime rates
  • public transportation
  • overall quality of life

Then we narrowed the list down to the 20 most affordable college towns in California.

Evaluation of the Most Affordable College Towns in California

1. Merced

University of California Merced Cost of Living: 7.5% greater than National Average: 61.1% lower than the State average

With the cost of living being higher than 60% less than on California typical, Merced offers the best value for money in college within the Golden State. Its costs are all lower than standard for national costs are:

  • Food items
  • healthcare
  • entertainment

Housing costs average out as being around 24% greater than all of the other states. Once an isolated farming community, Merced has grown rapidly over the past few years due to the University of California, Merced. It is now Merced has become a welcoming college town . It has:

  • an extensive calendar of community events
  • beautiful natural scenery
  • Diversity
  • increasing numbers of businesses to boost the local economy.

2. Fresno

Fresno State University

Cost of Living 7.8 percent higher than National average; 60.8 percent lower than the State Average

Fresno is known for its long history as a city that was originally a farm town. It is now a fast-growing metropolis that includes:

  • families
  • college students
  • affordable housing
  • big businesses

There’s plenty of land for farming. A major draw for Fresno’s visitors is its numerous things to do and places to visit, including:

  • art festivals
  • car shows
  • many locally owned and operated restaurants
  • A Civil War reenactment

With so many things to do it’s good that Fresno is among the most affordable college towns in California. Indeed, housing prices are about 22% higher than their national mean. They’re just 171% lower states average). Also, lower than the norm are the usual costs for:

  • groceries
  • healthcare
  • utilities
  • Transportation
  • entertainment.

3. Arcata

Humboldt State University

The cost of living is 16.8 15% higher than National Average; 51.8 percent more affordable than the State Average.

Arcata, in fact, is best known for its population of off-the-gridders and hippie-types. It’s a unique college town and has an affordable cost of living. The lowest cost of living compared to the national average are:

  • healthcare
  • utilities
  • Transportation

Entertainment and food are only slightly above. The housing average is 71% higher than the national norm, but 122% lower than what is considered to be the norm in the state. Since the closest large city is nearly three hours away, entertainment here typically is something like:

  • Colleges that sponsor students
  • A hike in the mountains
  • for a walk along the beach

4. Chico

California State University Chico

The cost of living is 21.1 percent more than National Standard; 47.5% Lower than the State Average

California State University, Chico is well-known as a major party college, so it should not be a surprise that the town of Chico is often associated with having a good time. Like other areas in California, Chico doesn’t vary much when it comes to the weather. This is good news people who prefer an Mediterranean climate all year. Also, speaking of pleasant temperature, Chico citizens love be outdoors, regardless of:

  • playing a ball game in The stadium that is home to the university’s top players
  • cycling over the century-old Honey Run Covered Bridge
  • participating in the art-filled Festival that runs for a month Artoberfest.

5. Redlands

University of Redlands

Price of living: 36.4 percent higher than National average; 32.2 percentages lower the State Average

While located though it’s located Southern California and the greater Los Angeles area, Redlands is far removed from the glamour and glamor in La La Land or even coastal California. In fact, it’s one among several towns which constitute the Inland Empire, a patchwork made up of communities which stretch out to the east until the desert. Still, Redlands has its charm and is a good value compared to other areas of California. Entertainment and healthcare costs are the most affordable of the expenses in Redlands. Just slightly more what is the norm in the country are:

  • grocery items
  • utilities
  • transportation.

6. Riverside

University of California Riverside

Cost of Living 47.2 percentage points more expensive than National Cost of Living; 21.4 Inflation lower than the State Average

Riverside is where you should go these days! In fact, according to Forbes that has recently ranked Riverside 8th „coolest“ cities in the United States. It’s a lot better than Los Angeles. The reasons are numerous, but they all include:

  • the town’s increasing population of the 20-to-30-year olds
  • and a growing diversity of ethnicities
  • many local family-owned, local restaurants and businesses

The expenses of living there are pretty great, too! All in all, living in Riverside costs just 21% less than other areas in California. The most affordable costs are:

  • healthcare
  • utilities
  • entertainment
  • groceries

But take action fast. While Riverside is still „affordable“ according to California standards, its cost of living has almost twice increased in a tiny two-year timeframe.

7. Seaside

California State University Monterey Bay

Cost of Living 51.3 19% higher than National Average; 17.3 Parts Lower Than the State Average

Rich retirees and college students are the largest portion of those living in Seaside. It’s an extremely difficult area to live in for those in a tight-knit budget. Housing costs are close to triple that of the national average. The costs for entertainment and transportation are higher than the typical national rate as well. But the good news is that the costs are right close to the average in this beautiful small town on the coast are

  • food
  • healthcare
  • utilities

Its easy access to the most beautiful beaches in California will make spending time by the water an easy. Through Monterey is the expansive network of:

  • pathways for hiking
  • walking trails
  • pathways for cycling.

8. Rohnert Park

Sonoma State University

In the Cost of Life: 65% more Than average National Standard; 3.6 Far less expensive than the National Average.

It’s easy to blink and be able to miss the charming town of Rohnert Park, situated in Sonoma County and home to Sonoma State University. The town has a history of being a kind of commune-like atmosphere. It prides itself on being an area where people seem to know each other. The cost of living for Rohnert park is about 4% lower than the average for the state. The majority of this has to do with the cost of housing. Yet, affordability is not absolute. Rohnert Park remains one of the few areas in the larger San Francisco Bay Area where homes can be bought for less than $550,000.

9. Anaheim

Bethesda Christian University

Cost of Living 70.5 percent greater than National Average 1.9 percent greater than that of the State Average.

When people think of Anaheim they envision:

  • Angel Stadium
  • the Honda Center
  • the enormous Anaheim Convention Center
  • Disneyland

But there’s Bethesda Christian University, a numerous for-profit university, and a few of the most popular community colleges in region. Anaheim has a large student demographic and a youthful and youthful atmosphere. Housing costs average 215% more than the average for the nation. Other costs are almost identical to normal costs, such as:

  • food
  • healthcare
  • utilities
  • entertainment (Disneyland, anyone?)

This results in Anaheim one of the most affordable addresses to be found in Southern California.

10. San Marcos

California State University San Marcos, Palomar College, San Elijo College

Cost of Living 72.8% higher than National Standard; 4.2 9 % higher that the State Average.

As with many other towns located in San Diego County, San Marcos is the ideal location for those who love both being in the city as well as outdoors. Going outdoors is enjoyable as well as easy due to the vast network of

  • parks and trails
  • Lakes and beaches
  • myriad programs for community recreation

Though the costs of living are around 73% more then the national mean, San Marcos is still one of the more affordable places in and around desirable San Diego. The commuter rail line as well as buses with excellent service are good ways to save money on transportation. The variety of housing options as well as a significant student population can mean that deals can be located when it comes to getting a house.

Each type of international food item can be found somewhere within Berkeley city boundaries. And if Berkeley isn’t home to it? It’s okay, San Francisco is just over the bridge.

10 Most Affordable College Towns in California

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