College costs have risen exponentially over the years, going up a whopping 183% from 1998 to 2018, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Housing prices also have risen, but at a much lower rate, which means that in some places, you can buy a house for the cost of a college education.
GOBankingRates found homes across the U.S. that you can buy for the average cost of tuition, fees, room and board for four years at public in-state colleges, public out-of-state colleges and private colleges. You might be surprised to see how much house you can get for the cost of a higher education.
Private Nonprofit 4-Year Tuition
- Cost over four years: $194,040
The average cost of tuition, fees, room and board at a private nonprofit college was $48,510 for the 2018-19 academic year, according to the College Board. Paying for four years at that cost would total $194,040 — which can buy you a five-bedroom home in some places.
Check out some of the real estate you could buy for the cost of a private college education.
Cheerful Home With Lake Access in Burnet, Texas
- Price: $160,000
This newly renovated manufactured home is located 20 minutes from Marble Falls, 30 minutes from Horseshoe Bay & Resort and one hour from Austin. But you don’t need to go far for private lake access with a boat ramp and dock — that’s just a short walk away.
The home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus new appliances, hardwood floors and crown molding. An open-concept living and dining room opens up through French doors to a large, covered porch.
Peace and Quiet in Loda, Illinois
- Price: $192,000
Get away from it all in this farmhouse-style home situated on 3.46 acres, complete with mature shade trees.
The five-bedroom, two-bathroom home is furnished with a wood-burning stove to help keep you warm. On temperate days, you can relax outside on the large front porch.
Modern Living in Philadelphia
- Price: $194,000
This stunning, modern home has been fully renovated and is located in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Kingsessing. It’s close to public transportation, Cobbs Creek Park, schools and Center City.
This three-bedroom, two-bathroom home features new hardwood floors downstairs, a new custom kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, and a fully finished basement with a bonus room that can be used as a fourth bedroom.
Public 4-Year Out-of-State Tuition
- Cost over four years: $149,720
It costs roughly $11,000 less per year to attend a public college as an out-of-state student than it does to attend a private college. The average cost of tuition, fees, room and board for an out-of-state public college for the 2018-19 academic year was $37,430, according to the College Board. That amounts to a total of $149,720 if you paid that same price for all four years. For that money, you could buy a modern townhouse or a classic Cape Cod-style home.
Move-In-Ready Townhouse in Riverview, Florida
- Price: $147,500
This contemporary townhome is located in a gated neighborhood complete with a community pool. It’s close to shopping areas and restaurants and is conveniently located near two major interstates: I-75 and I-4.
This tastefully decorated two-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom home has new carpeting throughout. It also features a screened patio, and you’ll have plenty of privacy in the backyard with no backyard neighbors. There is a $267 monthly maintenance fee, but this includes lawn care, insurance, water and cable.
Cape Cod Style in Waukegan, Illinois
- Price: $147,000
This Cape Cod-style home sits on a corner lot and has plenty of curb appeal thanks to its new siding.
The home has three bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and plenty of amenities. It features an updated eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances, tile backsplash and ceramic tile floors, hardwood floors throughout the first level, plenty of entertaining space with both a living room and a dining room, and a large, bright master bedroom. Outside, you’ll find a freshly painted deck that overlooks the large, fenced-in yard.
Brick Twin in Palm, Pennsylvania
- Price: $149,900
This brick townhouse located just outside of town needs a little TLC, but there’s plenty of potential for its new owners.
The property includes three bedrooms, one bathroom and a walk-up attic. This 2,211-square-foot home is also rich in history, dating back to 1900.
Public 4-Year In-State Tuition
- Cost over four years: $85,480
The most affordable option for a four-year degree is a public in-state college. Still, the cost to attend isn’t cheap. The average cost of tuition, fees, room and board at a public in-state college was $21,370 for the 2018-19 academic year, according to the College Board. At that cost, you would pay $85,480 for a four-year degree.
Although $85,000 is a tight budget for a home, your money could go far in some states.
Sweet Southern Home in Rome, Georgia
- Price: $79,900
Located in the Gaither Park community, this adorable home is near shopping, restaurants and more.
The home features four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a cozy family room and hardwood floors. The move-in ready house also was recently painted.
Historic Home in Kankakee, Illinois
- Price: $84,987
This 2,700-square-foot home is located in the desirable Riverview Historic District and dates back to 1910. Downtown Chicago is just an hour away.
This home has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and plenty of character thanks to its natural woodwork, built-ins and leaded glass windows. It also features a 27-foot-wide open front porch, a woodburning fireplace, two walk-in closets, a walk-up attic with windows and a full basement.
Woodsy Retreat in Kemp, Texas
- Price: $84,000
Outdoor enthusiasts will love this home, located just two minutes from a lake. Its elevated design means there’s plenty of room for multiple vehicles underneath, plus a boat and jet skis.
The recently remodeled three-bedroom, one-bathroom home features an open-concept design with two sliding glass doors that open to a covered deck — the perfect area for lounging, stargazing or entertaining.
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About the Author
Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.