Wallet Hub data evaluated cost of living, entertainment and social environment, and academic and economic opportunities for ranking.
With a ranking of 20 out of 415, Columbus was near the top of the list for U.S. college towns, according to research from the website Wallet Hub. When broken down by city size, Columbus (considered a large city) was ranked No. 9. Its affordability ranked at 105, social environment at 58 and opportunities at 123, all out of 415.
Each category was evaluated using 30 metrics. “Wallet friendliness” included such metrics as share of rental units, average monthly fitness club fee and student loan debt per person. Social environment—Columbus’ best score—was evaluated by students per capita, share of single persons, breweries and food trucks per capita and more. Academic and economic opportunities were ranked using metrics such as earning potential for college graduates, unemployment rate and entrepreneurial activity. Twenty-five points each were allotted for the first two categories and 50 for the last.
The best overall city—also the best city in the large cities category—was Austin. Cincinnati had an overall ranking of 50, while Oxford, Ohio, ranked 54 and Athens, Ohio ranked 56. Kent, Bowling Green and Cleveland were a bit lower on the list, ranking 196, 262 and 276, respectively. Ann Arbor ranked third overall and first for small cities—but in what really matters (college football), the University of Michigan ranks just below Ohio State University.