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The 50 best big college towns in America

Stacker Logo By Natalie Morin of Stacker | Slide 1 of 51: There’s no denying that campus life plays a significant part in the college experience — as it’s often the setting for the creation of lifelong memories — whether it be a school’s lush lawns, towering brick buildings, or monuments. But what many forget when choosing a home for the next four years is that the area surrounding the school grounds matters as well; it may be the place where friends go out to celebrate each other’s 21st birthdays or the surrounding town that offers escape when campus feels too claustrophobic.Schools that boast a great campus environment and also happen to sit in an exceptional college town truly have the best of both worlds. Stacker enlisted the help of WalletHub to identify where these elusive schools exist. They examined 415 cities that are home to colleges and evaluated each area’s “wallet friendliness” (cost of living), “social environment” (demographics, entertainment options), and “academic and economic opportunities” (education quality, job opportunities, earning potential). Based on these factors, they gave each town an overall score out of 100, and ranked them from #50 all the way down to the crowning champion at the #1 spot. For this story, we focused exclusively on large cities with populations of more than 300,000.From the Golden State to the Eastern seaboard, see if your college town is one of America’s best this year.

The 50 best big college towns in America

There’s no denying that campus life plays a significant part in the college experience — as it’s often the setting for the creation of lifelong memories — whether it be a school’s lush lawns, towering brick buildings, or monuments. But what many forget when choosing a home for the next four years is that the area surrounding the school grounds matters as well; it may be the place where friends go out to celebrate each other’s 21st birthdays or the surrounding town that offers escape when campus feels too claustrophobic.

Schools that boast a great campus environment and also happen to sit in an exceptional college town truly have the best of both worlds. Stacker enlisted the help of WalletHub to identify where these elusive schools exist. They examined 415 cities that are home to colleges and evaluated each area’s “wallet friendliness” (cost of living), “social environment” (demographics, entertainment options), and “academic and economic opportunities” (education quality, job opportunities, earning potential). Based on these factors, they gave each town an overall score out of 100, and ranked them from #50 all the way down to the crowning champion at the #1 spot. For this story, we focused exclusively on large cities with populations of more than 300,000.

From the Golden State to the Eastern seaboard, see if your college town is one of America’s best this year by clicking through the slideshow. 

© Johntex // Wikicommons

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