Money

10 college towns where it's cheaper to buy a house than rent

With student loan debt growing at a staggering rate — Americans owed $1.3 trillion in federal loans last year — college students push to save wherever they can.

At many schools, moving out of the dorms and into an off-campus rental is a surefire way to save cash. But as Realtor.com reports, in some college towns, you could save even more by buying a house.

Realtor.com found the college towns where it's cheaper to buy than rent by comparing median rental prices to median monthly home payments, which includes the mortgage, property taxes and insurance, for markets that contain at least one four-year college and a sizable number of students living off-campus. Median mortgage rates were calculated using the median price of homes listed on Realtor.com, assuming a 20 percent down payment.

It's worth noting that, when buying a house, you should always examine non-monetary factors, such as how long you'll live there and what your future goals are before pulling the trigger.

But if you're considering attending college or grad school in one of these 10 places and then sticking around, it might be worth checking out the local real estate.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

10. Champaign, Illinois

Home to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Median monthly home payment: $875
Median monthly rent payment: $956

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Milwaukee, Wisconsin

9. Milwaukee

Home to Marquette University
Median monthly home payment: $856
Median monthly rent payment: $954

Swarthmore College
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Swarthmore College

8. Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Home to Swarthmore College
Median monthly home payment: $1,128
Median monthly rent payment: $1,152

Downtown in Cleveland, Ohio
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Downtown in Cleveland, Ohio

7. Cleveland

Home to Case Western Reserve University
Median monthly home payment: $677
Median monthly rent payment: $866

University of Maryland College Park
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University of Maryland College Park

6. College Park, Maryland

Home to the University of Maryland
Median monthly home payment: $1,699
Median monthly rent payment: $1,971

Sunset from City Hall in Philadelphia.
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Sunset from City Hall in Philadelphia.

5. Philadelphia

Home to the University of Pennsylvania
Median monthly home payment: $964
Median monthly rent payment: $1,252

Beaumont Tower, Michigan State University
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Beaumont Tower, Michigan State University

4. East Lansing, Michigan

Home to Michigan State University
Median monthly home payment: $628
Median monthly rent payment: $930

View of downtown Lafayette from John T. Meyers Pedestrian Bridge in West Lafayette, Indiana.
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View of downtown Lafayette from John T. Meyers Pedestrian Bridge in West Lafayette, Indiana.

3. West Lafayette, Indiana

Home to Purdue University
Median monthly home payment: $666
Median monthly rent payment: $970

University of Notre Dame
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University of Notre Dame

2. South Bend, Indiana

Home to the University of Notre Dame
Median monthly home payment: $470
Median monthly rent payment: $856

Downtown Baltimore, Maryland
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Downtown Baltimore, Maryland

1. Baltimore

Home to Johns Hopkins University
Median monthly home payment: $775
Median monthly rent payment: $1,443

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