Gainesville was ranked No. 20 on a list of the top cities to live for those with student debt.
Student Loan Hero, a lender and service that gives information on loans, published the list Nov. 7, and Gainesville was the only Florida city to make the top 20, with Durham, North Carolina, being No. 1. Gainesville has a low cost of living, compared to the national average, Elyssa Kirkham, the media outreach specialist of College Hero, wrote in an email. This was the first year Student Loan Hero created the rankings list, and the company calculated the scores by comparing disposable income with average local wage after covering basic living expenses and taxes, Kirkham said.
She said the average cost of living in Gainesville is lower than the national average. The average rent in Gainesville is $852 per month.
“Housing costs are the area where (Gainesville residents) see the most savings, paying 9.2 percent less on this expense compared to the national average,” Kirkham said.
Emily McKee, a Sante Fe College nursing freshman, has taken out more than a thousand dollars in loans for her first semester. To pay off her loans, the 18-year-old works 17 hours a week between her jobs at the Mark Bostick Golf Course and Panera Bread, for $8.10 and $8.25 in hourly wages, respectively.
McKee said she agrees with the ranking and would reccommend living in Gainesville to others. However, she said she spends a great deal of her earnings on tuition and rent.
“I think overall Gainesville isn’t all that cheap,” she said.