Most of the houses (available today) are within 2-3 blocks of campus

One (available now, which I would dearly LOVE to BUY if it was me, is $35,000 for the house and 3/4 of an acre, and $60,000 TOTAL if you buy the adjacent 2 acres at the same time!!!) But it’s way on the outskirts of town, and I know better than to think it would be room-mate able. That one would definitely be, here’s your college living son, and when you graduate, mom and dad are retiring here.
Food is probably a little lower off campus than on (seriously? $500 A MONTH for on campus dining?)
He’d be 21 by the time he went there as would anyone else who would be roommates. Under 21, the school requires you to live on campus unless you are living at home or with a relative. I imagine (lol) that being the HomeOwner would qualify you as living at home, even if he wasn’t 21.
All good points. I really need to take a trip out there with DH sometime and maybe I can talk him into moving there permanently, in which case, buying a house when DS would be in college would just be “in advance of…”