For college students, making a decision about where and when to spend money usually involves costs in comparison to. value. The house close to the beach is costly however it’s on the beach! Living in California is much the same like. This Golden State is easily one of the most expensive states of the country. It’s home to:

  • beaches and mountains
  • Vineyards and top-of-the-line eateries
  • Disneyland and ski resorts,

It’s expensive, but it’s also an excellent quality of life. This is why the West Coast will always be a popular destination for students in college. So we’ve helped out by selecting the top 20 affordable towns for college in California when we consider both the cost of living and quality of living.

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Methodology for the Towns with the Lowest Costs in California

Our editors started by compiling the names of each college town located in California. Then, we employed Sperling’s Best Places to rank each town on general affordability. To figure out which towns in the college system are the most affordable we examined costs for:

  • housing
  • food
  • healthcare
  • transportation
  • utilities

They were compared to standards for state and national.follow the link https://www.youngupstarts.com/2022/11/02/5-cheap-places-to-live-in-california-for-college-students/ At our site We also considered features like:

  • facilities
  • crime rates
  • public transport
  • overall quality of living

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

The Most Affordable College Towns in California

1. Merced

University of California Merced Cost of Living: 7.5% Higher than the National Average: 61.1% Less than the State Average

With an average cost of living higher than 60% less than in comparison to the California norm, Merced has the lowest-cost college in the Golden State. This is lower than the standard for national costs are:

  • Food items
  • healthcare
  • entertainment

Costs of housing for average households amount at around 24% more than all of the other states. At one time, it was a small farming community, Merced has grown rapidly in recent years because of an institution called the University of California, Merced. In the present, Merced can be described as a friendly campus town.

  • A complete calendar of community activities
  • gorgeous natural scenery
  • diversity
  • A growing number of businesses are helping to boost the local economy.

2. Fresno

Fresno State University

The cost of living: 7.8% Higher than the National Standard; 60.8 percent lower than the State Average

Fresno has a long and rich history as a thriving farming town. The city is currently a growing city that is

  • families
  • college students
  • affordable housing
  • big businesses

There’s plenty of land for farming. One of the reasons Fresno is so popular is its extensive list of occasions and attractions, such as:

  • art festivals
  • car exhibits
  • dozens of locally owned restaurants
  • A Civil War reenactment

With lots to do, it’s good that Fresno is one of the most affordable college towns in California. In fact, the average housing cost is 22 percent higher than nationwide averages. The average is 171% lower (compared to that of the average state). Also lower than what is expected. are the typical costs for:

  • Food items
  • healthcare
  • utilities
  • Transportation
  • entertainment.

3. Arcata

Humboldt State University

The cost of living is 16.8 percent more expensive than National Standard; 51.8% Lower than the State Average

Arcata, in fact, is best known because of its off-gridders and hippie types. It’s a unique college town with a cost-effective price of living. The lowest cost of living compared to the national average are:

  • healthcare
  • utilities
  • Transportation

Entertainment and food averages only marginally higher. The housing average is 71% higher than the national average however, it is 122% less than the norm of the state. Since the nearest major town can be found just over three hours from here, entertainment usually will mean something like:

  • Collegiate sponsored
  • an excursion in the mountains
  • a walk along the beach

4. Chico

California State University Chico

Cost of Living 21.1 Points Higher Than the National Average 47.5 percent more expensive than the State Average.

California State University, Chico is known as a major party school, so it ought to be no surprise that the town of Chico is frequently considered to be a party destination. In contrast to other regions of California, Chico doesn’t vary much when it comes to temperatures. This is a good thing for those who enjoy an Mediterranean climate practically year round. Also, speaking of pleasant temperature, Chico natives love to take a walk in the sun, whether:

  • attending a game of baseball at the university’s impressive stadium
  • cycling up to the century-old Honey Run Covered Bridge
  • taking part in the arts-filled long festival that lasts for a whole month Artoberfest.

5. Redlands

University of Redlands

Price of living: 36.4% Higher than the National Average 32.2 percent less than the State Average

Although it’s situated but located Southern California and the greater Los Angeles area, Redlands isn’t as glamorous and glamour of La La Land or even coastal California. Redlands is actually one of several towns which comprise the Inland Empire, a patchwork of communities with developed infrastructure that extends to the east, all the way to the desert. It’s not all bad, however, Redlands has its appeal and is a good value compared to other areas of California. Healthcare and entertainment costs are the most affordable of the basic necessities in Redlands. The only thing that is slightly higher than as the national norm.

  • groceries
  • utilities
  • transportation.

6. Riverside

University of California Riverside

Cost of Living 47.2 percent more than National Cost of Living; 21.4% Lower than the State Average

Riverside is where you should get to these days! It is, at least according to Forbes which recently ranked Riverside as the 8th “coolest” town in the United States. It’s a lot better than Los Angeles. The reasons vary, but they all include:

  • the town’s population is growing, with 20-to-30-year-olds.
  • an increase in ethnic diversity
  • There are a lot of local, family-owned businesses and businesses

And the expense of living here is decent, too! In general, living in Riverside costs 21% less than most other places in California. The lowest prices are:

  • healthcare
  • utilities
  • entertainment
  • Food items

But take action fast. Although Riverside is still “affordable” by California standards, the price of living has nearly tripled in a short duration.

7. Seaside

California State University Monterey Bay

The cost of living is 51.3 increase over the National Average 17.3 percent lower than the State Average.

Wealthy retirees and college students constitute the bulk of people living in Seaside. It’s a challenging place to survive for those on a strict budget. Housing costs are about three times of what the average national cost. Transportation and entertainment costs are higher than the typical national rate as well. But luckily, right on par with the norms in this picturesque resort town.

  • food
  • healthcare
  • utilities

Easy access to some of the most popular beaches in California will make spending time by the water enjoyable. Bypassing Monterey is the vast network of:

  • Trails for hiking
  • walking trails
  • cycle paths.

8. Rohnert Park

Sonoma State University

The cost of living is 65% Higher Than average National Average 3.6 In comparison to the States Average.

Just a second and you’ll not see the charming town Rohnert Park, located in Sonoma County and home to Sonoma State University. The town has a long-standing tradition of having a sort of a community-like atmosphere. It is proud to be the place where everyone seems to be familiar with everyone. Rohnert Park’s cost of living is about 4% less than the average for the state. A large part of the reason is to deal with the price of housing. It is true that affordability is dependent. Rohnert Park remains one of the very few spots in the larger San Francisco Bay Area where a home can be purchased for less than $550,000.

9. Anaheim

Bethesda Christian University

Cost of Living 70.5 percentage points higher than National Average 1.9 percent more than what the state average is.

When people are thinking of Anaheim they envision:

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

There’s also Bethesda Christian University, a several for-profit colleges, as well as some of the more populous community colleges in the region. Anaheim is home to a huge student populace and a lively young vibe. The cost of housing is on average 215% higher than the national average. Other costs are also comparable to that of the nation, including:

  • food
  • healthcare
  • utilities
  • entertainment (Disneyland Anyone?)

This allows Anaheim one of the most cost-effective cities that you can find in Southern California.

10. San Marcos

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

Cost of Living 72.8 10% higher than National Average 4.2 9 % higher that the State Average

As with many other towns located in San Diego County, San Marcos is a great choice to those who love the city and the outdoors. The outdoors can be enjoyable is easy and accessible with the vast network of

  • Parks and trails
  • Lakes and beaches
  • myriad community-based recreation programs

Although the cost of living is about 73% higher than the national average, San Marcos is still one of the more affordable areas in and around San Diego. A commuter rail line and an excellent bus system are among the many alternatives for saving money on transportation. A variety of housing and a huge student pool means deals are to be discovered when it comes to choosing a residence.

All kinds of international food can be found somewhere within Berkeley city boundaries. If Berkeley does not happen to have it? Well, San Francisco is just over the bridge.