The best places to avoid student loan debt by working through college

Macon college student owns baking business to pay for school

It’s been drilled into our heads that there is no way for a student these days to attend a four-year institution without going into significant, long-lasting student loan debt, and that it is nearly (if not entirely) impossible to work one’s way through college. But a new study by MagnifyMoney suggests that might not, in fact, be true, depending on where that student lives.
 
MagnifyMoney compared the 100 largest metros on four points that would likely affect the earnings potential of students living there: the unemployment rate for those between the ages of 16-24; the average cost of rent compared to the national average; the average cost of goods compared to the national average; and the amount of the average in-state public tuition a student could afford by working 1,280 hours a year at the local minimum wage. 

The combined work and school load is undoubtedly punishing, but it jibes with all those stories of members of the Silent Generation going to night school while they worked full-time.
 
Surprisingly, the results suggest that in 63 cities, students could pay at least 100 percent of their in-state tuition on minimum wage. 

(Can't see the image below? Click here.)

The prospect of success is somewhat more complicated than that, depending on whether students have to pay some or all of their living expenses because they’re independent, or don’t have to worry about things like rent and groceries because they live at home.

Accordingly, two separate rankings were provided for the two groups of students, with local unemployment considered for both groups, and cost of living statistics considered for students who don’t live with their parents. 
 
For students who only have to worry about tuition because they live at home, Florida cities with low youth unemployment rates top the rankings. 

Students in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Lakeland, and Palm Bay can earn 163 percent of the average in-state tuition, and many of the local schools mentioned in the study have lower-than-average tuitions.  

One surprising result is that extremely expensive communities, like the fourth ranked San Francisco Bay Area, offer some of the best opportunities for their natives to earn full tuition costs, thanks to high minimum wages and a wealth of public institutions.  

Upstate New York also fares well, with Rochester and Buffalo represented in the top ten.

(Can't see the image below? Click here.)

The prospect of success is somewhat more complicated than that, depending on whether students have to pay some or all of their living expenses because they’re independent, or don’t have to worry about things like rent and groceries because they live at home.

Accordingly, two separate rankings were provided for the two groups of students, with local unemployment considered for both groups, and cost of living statistics considered for students who don’t live with their parents. 
 
For students who only have to worry about tuition because they live at home, Florida cities with low youth unemployment rates top the rankings. 

Students in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Lakeland, and Palm Bay can earn 163 percent of the average in-state tuition, and many of the local schools mentioned in the study have lower-than-average tuitions.  

One surprising result is that extremely expensive communities, like the fourth ranked San Francisco Bay Area, offer some of the best opportunities for their natives to earn full tuition costs, thanks to high minimum wages and a wealth of public institutions.  

Upstate New York also fares well, with Rochester and Buffalo represented in the top ten.

Meanwhile, the low cost of living in Missouri and states to its south is so low enough to make cities like Springfield, Mo., St. Louis, Mo., Kansas City, Ks., Little Rock, Ark., and Knoxville, Tenn. are excellent prospects for students who have to pay their own major expenses.
 
The true standout cities seem to be Lakeland and Palm Beach, Fla.  Not only do they take the second and third spots on the rankings for students who live at home, they take the fifth and tenth spots on the rankings for students who live on their own.   

Other cities that place in the top 25 of both lists include Buffalo, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Des Moines, Kansas City, Little Rock, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Spokane, Springfield, Mo., and St. Louis. 

Young people and their families are right to be confused, intimidated, and even frightened about how to pay for that ever-more essential college degree, but MagnifyMoney’s study should be a welcome relief to many.  To see how your community or hoped-for college town ranks, read the entire study here.

MagnifyMoney is a price comparison and financial education website, founded by former bankers who use their knowledge of how the system works to help you save money.
 

MagnifyMoney


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
TRENDING VIDEOS
More Stories