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Most Expensive College Towns

College days have long been associated with ramen diets and budget-minded lifestyles. However, the sketchy, overcrowded housing often found around colleges doesn’t fully represent the communities surrounding many universities. Nonstudents and students alike value college towns and cities for their vibrant arts communities and other cultural amenities, including indie film houses, live theater, concerts, and prominent guest lecturers, or even to live as super-fans of the local winning sports teams. These communities also tend to have traditional town centers dotted with historic landmarks, unlike the typical suburban sprawl.

Researchers at LendingTree.com looked at the top college towns in the U.S. that had at least one large university or college and a population of less than 500,000. This information was then cross-referenced with data from the American Institute for Economic Research, based on the College Destination Index, which analyzes more than 222 metropolitan statistical areas with student populations of 15,000 or more.

Click the slides ahead to see the 10 most expensive college towns, ranked from the least to the most expensive, including two towns from the same state university system.

By Colleen KanePosted 4 October, 2011

Mark Lewis | Photodisc | Getty Images