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How Much Will Room & Board Cost Where I Live?

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Aside from tuition, room and board is the most costly expense you’ll have in college. In addition to university fees, a variety of factors can determine the cost of room and board. For example, finding an off-campus apartment in Los Angeles near UCLA is much more expensive than on-campus housing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a college town.

Room and board fees vary by institution, with fees at private colleges typically higher than public universities. Considering the US region, state, and the type of institution may help narrow your decision about where to attend college. Individual choices including room-type, dorm-style, and meal plans will also make a difference.

Average Cost of Room and Board Across the US

According to Edmit data, the average cost of room and board in the most recent academic year, 2017-2018, was $10,369. For public institutions the average cost was $9,901 and for private institutions,  the average cost was $10,559. The Southwest region including Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas have the most affordable room and board costs. However, the New England region including the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont have the highest average room and board costs. The New England region is home to several selective Ivy League institutions including Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth.

US Region

(Low to High)


Avg. Room and Board Cost


Arizona, New Mexico,Oklahoma, and Texas



Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri,

Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota



Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia


Rocky Mountains

Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming


Great Lakes

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin


Far West

Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington


Mid East

Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania


New England

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont



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Room and Board Costs by State

Most Expensive Room & Board     Least Expensive Room & Board  
State Average Cost   State Average Cost
Hawaii 13652   Oklahoma 7436
Massachusetts 13637   North Dakota 7484
Connecticut 13547   South Dakota 7668
Rhode Island 13432   Mississippi 7735
New York 13386   Alaska  7900


When evaluating room and board costs by state, average costs vary widely. Oklahoma has the most affordable average room and board fees at just $7,436 per year, while Hawaii has the highest at $13,652 annually. These trends reflect the cost of living trends in the USA, with Oklahoma generally regarded as one of the most affordable places to live, while Hawaii is among the most expensive.

A Final Word on Average Room and Board Costs in the USA

Before choosing a college, consider the region, state, and the local cost of living in the city where the college is located. College towns and small cities tend to be more affordable. Room and board is a huge expense for most students, but with a bit of research and planning, it can be very affordable.

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