This North Carolina city ranks among the nation’s best college towns. Here’s why

Paul Erickson

North Carolina is home to one of the nation’s best places for college students to live, a new report finds.

Raleigh ranks No. 10 on a list of cities boasting entertainment venues, post-graduate opportunities and other offerings that appeal to those enrolled in college, according to results published Tuesday, Nov. 29.

To create the rankings, the personal finance website WalletHub told McClatchy News it studied 415 U.S. cities that range in size and were “chosen based on relevance and availability of data.” Using figures from the federal government and other sources, each place was scored across three categories: social environment, costs and academic and economic opportunities.

“The community that houses a college can be incredibly important to a student depending upon a variety of factors,” Michael T. Miller, a professor at the University of Arkansas, said in a news release. “A community has outstanding hospitals or businesses to intern in, or, it might be the location of a state capitol. These kinds of resources can really improve a student’s experience, both in terms of applied learning, but also in terms of future job placement.”

Raleigh earned a spot near the top of the national list after it received high marks for its social environment, a measure of public safety as well as population trends for students and young adults. The category also considered the presence of breweries, Division I sports teams and other entertainment options, results show.

But Raleigh didn’t fare as well in the other two categories.

North Carolina’s capital city landed at No. 166 in the cost category due to prices for tuition, housing and activities. It also ranked No. 117 for academic and economic opportunities, which weighed the city’s job opportunities and quality of schools.

It’s not the first time Raleigh has been recognized on a national scale. The city — which is home to several educational institutions, including Meredith College, N.C. State University, Shaw University, St. Augustine’s University and William Peace University — scored the No. 6 spot on WalletHub’s list in 2020, McClatchy News reported.

This time around, Raleigh landed at No. 10 in the United States and ranked fourth among big cities.

Several other North Carolina towns that are home to or near college campuses made their marks in the nationwide rankings. They include: Cary at No. 21; Wilmington at No. 33; Chapel Hill at No. 41; Charlotte at No. 67; Durham at No. 75; Asheville at No. 85; Greenville at No. 201; Greensboro at No. 244; Boone at No. 273; Winston-Salem at No. 324; High Point at No. 348; Fayetteville at No. 357.

Overall, Wallethub named Austin, Texas, the nation’s best college town. Rounding out the top five were: Ann Arbor, Michigan; Orlando, Florida; Gainesville, Florida; and Tampa, Florida.

Landing at the bottom of the list was Flint, Michigan.

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