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Best big college towns in America

  • 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.

  • #50. Corpus Christi, TX

    Total score: 44.25

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #72

    Social environment rank: #294

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #286

    Sample universities: Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; Del Mar College; Southern Careers Institute

  • #49. Arlington, TX

    Total score: 44.32

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #148

    Social environment rank: #245

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #293

    Sample universities: The University of Texas at Arlington; Arlington Baptist University

  • #48. Honolulu, HI

    Total score: 44.65

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #372

    Social environment rank: #10

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #302

    Sample universities: The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; Hawaiʻi Pacific University; Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • #47. El Paso, TX

    Total score: 44.72

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #20

    Social environment rank: #161

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #387

    Sample universities: The University of Texas at El Paso; Southwest University at El Paso; El Paso Community College

  • #46. Milwaukee, WI

    Total score: 45.20

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #206

    Social environment rank: #110

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #315

    Sample universities: Marquette University; The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

  • #45. Fort Worth, TX

    Total score: 45.31

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #231

    Social environment rank: #156

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #232

    Sample universities: Texas Christian University; Texas Wesleyan University; Tarrant County College

  • #44. Anaheim, CA

    Total score: 45.48

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #344

    Social environment rank: #98

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #98

    Sample universities: Anaheim University; Southern California Institute of Technology

  • #43. Albuquerque, NM

    Total score: 45.57

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #126

    Social environment rank: #130

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #326

    Sample universities: The University of New Mexico; Central New Mexico Community College; Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

  • #42. Oklahoma City, OK

    Total score: 45.59

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #136

    Social environment rank: #190

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #280

    Sample universities: Oklahoma State University–Oklahoma City; Oklahoma City University; Oklahoma City Community College

  • #41. San Jose, CA

    Total score: 45.70

    Wallet-friendliness rank: #386

    Social environment rank: #43

    Academic & economic opportunities rank: #87

    Sample universities: San José State University; San Jose City College; Evergreen Valley College

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