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College Financing and Career Guide 2007
Getting started in life
There will be a lot of firsts now. See how getting off to a sound start will pay dividends for a lifetime.
Getting started in life
Cut room and board costs by buying a house

As any parent knows, college costs are skyrocketing. According to the College Board, the average cost of a four-year private college is $27,677, a four-year public school for in-state students is $12,841 and $19,188 for out-of-state students.

And that's just tuition. Room and board tack on about 30 percent more to the cost. For the 2006-2007 school year, for example, the University of Notre Dame charged $33,410 for tuition and $8,730 for room and board, according to the National Center for College Costs. Indiana University cost $7,460 for tuition and $7,164 for room and board.

With those fees, it's not surprising that more parents are buying homes in the towns where their son or daughter is attending college. And they can also rent extra rooms to other students to help pay for the house.

"The idea of buying a rental property, holding it for four or more years and having someone you can trust on the premises to keep an eye on things is an excellent investment idea," says Don Romanek, who operates Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based, a nationwide database of rental-property listings and information and services for landlords.

What to consider before buying
Freshman restrictions
Cost, equity equation
Economies of scale
To sublease or not to sublease?
Home maintenance
Will student cook?
Furnishings and appliances
Bill paying

He says he has seen a huge increase in students seeking to share off-campus accommodations to offset rising school expenses. "Students can often share rooms or split the rent in a single-family house for a lot less money than a college dorm," he says. "Homeowners are also finding this an advantageous market, because there is a solid market of tenants looking for housing near the college."

Before jumping into this investment, there are a few things to consider for parents who are pondering a college-town home-buying decision for their kid(s).

-- Posted: July 2, 2007
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