Classroom learning is important, but the experience of attending college can be just as influential and impactful on a student’s life.
The American Institute for Economic Research recently ranked the country’s top college towns for 2014-2015, based on student life, economic health, culture and opportunity. “The people students will meet, the things they do outside of class, and the jobs they may hold are all essential complements to their formal education,” the report states.
Ithaca, N.Y., home to Ithaca College and Cornell University tops the list, thanks to entrepreneurial activity and research and development. Ames, Iowa, (Iowa State University) and Corvallis, Ore. (Oregon State University) round out the top three college towns on the list.
The report focused on places with more than 10,000 students but less than 250,000 residents.
College towns tend to have stronger local economies than cities of a comparable size, thanks to the stable demand for real estate from students and the relatively recession-proof field of higher education. They also tend to have a relatively low cost of living.
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