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Back to School: Student Pads for Investment-Minded Parents

This weekend, in the real estate section of the New York Times, we happened upon something extraordinary buried in an article about wealthy Chinese investing in Manhattan property. The juicy tidbit? "In one case a parent spent $20 million on an apartment for a daughter at college in Manhattan." If that's not high maintenance, we don't know what is, but with that said, let's take a look at some more affordable options convenient to America's colleges. Up first, in the country's capital of higher education, Boston, Mass., this one bedroom is a bit fancier than the usual college fare, but it's located in the convenient Back Bay neighborhood and costs a hell of a lot less than $20M, coming in at $485K.

? Just blocks from one of the South's best regarded universities, the University of North Carolina, this Chapel Hill house offers space for a student and plenty of his or her friends, with four bedrooms and four baths for $445K. One problem: the lofty living room looks a little too perfect for a party.

? Oddly enough, this quaint home is located on the same street, Wesley, as the last place but in an entirely different town, Evanston, Ill., home of Northwestern University. And just like the UNC pad, this place has four bedrooms, but it's probably not as appropriate for a group of roommates: the one bathroom might lead to some infighting. At least there might be some money left over for an addition with the price at just $459K.

? The Silicon Valley metropolis of Palo Alto, Calif., home to Stanford University, isn't exactly known as a cheap city, so finding an appropriate student apartment for under $500K. Well, to be fair, this is just two grand shy of the budget, and it's only one bedroom, but with a common pool and terrace, it's certainly better equipped than we might have expected.

? Lastly, it seems only appropriate to pay a visit to NYC, to see if a $20M outlay really was necessary to secure a student some suitable digs. Turns out, that's not so. In the neighborhood of Morningside Heights, directly adjacent to Columbia University, $20M would buy you this 12,000-square-foot free-standing mansion, but this petite pre-war one-bedroom with low maintainence will run just $449K. That lucky Chinese child must have gone to NYU.

· A Second Home for Affluent Chinese [NYT]
· 280 Commonwealth Ave [Trulia]
· 321 Wesley Drive [Trulia]
· 1806 Wesley Avenue [Trulia]
· 410 Sheridan Avenue [Sotheby's]
· Riverside Drive Mansion From The Guy Who Designed Carnegie Hall [Curbed National]
· 417 Riverside Drive [StreetEasy]