10 Schools With Inexpensive Dorms

Get rent, utilities, and three meals a day for $411 a month.

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The cost of living on campus, especially in new, fancy hotel-style dorms, is higher than the cost of attending class at hundreds of state universities across the country. But many colleges are helping students save big bucks by providing cheap dorm rooms.

Some of the cheap dorms have plenty of amenities, including free Internet, cable TV, and fitness centers. Several colleges can offer cheaper dorms than their neighbors because they aren't required to turn a profit or send some dorm fees to subsidize the university.

Generally, however, there is a reason the rooms cost so little. Many bargain dorms are at colleges in rural, low-cost communities far from public transportation. As a result, some of the dorm savings are eaten up by car expenses. In addition, some are in older buildings that don't have air conditioning or that lack other modern conveniences.

But students who can make do with fans on hot nights, and will consider a college far from an expensive city, can reduce their college costs by thousands of dollars.

Here are colleges with some of the cheapest dorms in the country. The dorm cost is the average cost of a standard shared double dorm room. Board cost is the standard full meal plan at a cafeteria. Most colleges give students options to reduce these costs even further by, for example, buying fewer meals or agreeing to share a room with a third student.

School name Room and board 2009-2010 Room alone (some schools bill room and board together) In-state tuition, fees, room & board Out-of-state tuition, fees, room & board
Northwestern Oklahoma State University $3,700 $1,300 $7,811 $13,841
Concordia College (AL) $3,700 $1,500 $11,370 $11,370
Dixie State College of Utah $3,948 $1,450 $7,093 $14,845
Southwestern Oklahoma State University $4,100 $1,600 $8,210 $13,550
University of West Alabama $4,416 N/A $9,976 $15,036
University of Montevallo (AL) $4,440 $2,880 $11,450 $17,990
Louisiana College $4,450 $1,920 $16,980 $16,980
Mayville State University (ND) $4,488 N/A $10,281 $12,337
Blackburn College (IL) $4,581 $2,315 $18,867 $18,867
Alabama State University $4,600 $2,630 $10,060 $14,668

[See 10 Schools With Pricey Dorms.]