Since real estate professionals are prohibited from steering, enticing a buyer to purchase/rent, or not, in specific neighborhoods, consider taking the time and possibly visiting the area; also check with the college; consider working with an agent; check local print media for by owner rentals, always verify ownership before exchanging any money, etc.
We as Licensed Real Estate professionals in NYS are very limited in what can be said about neighborhood conditions and surroundings. It sounds like you would be renting as opposed to buying. I recommend that you contact:
Admissions - Undergraduate
For lots of information.
MJ Peterson Real Estate.