C-U ranked No. 7 among 'college towns'

C-U ranked No. 7 among 'college towns'

Better-educated than Bloomington, Ind. More diverse than Columbia, Mo. And easier to make ends meet than Lawrence, Kan.

If Champaign-Urbana ever goes looking for a new marketing slogan, there's plenty of good material in a report issued Monday by the American Institute for Economic Research.

The home of the Illini checks in at No. 7 among "college towns" — more than 15,000 students, fewer than 250,000 residents — in the research outfit's annual College Destinations Index. That's better than the homes of the Hoosiers (No. 19), Tigers (No. 12) and Bill Self (No. 10) but — gasp — two spots behind Iowa City.

If not as well-known, AIER's is certainly a more well-thought-out list than Playboy's top party schools or the weekly AP Top 25 poll. The group, which touts its independence and impartiality, analyzes the latest data in 12 criteria — from degree attainment (25-to-34-year-olds with bachelor's degrees or higher) to earning potential (income per capita).

C-U's worst category: unemployment rate (18th place). Its best: student diversity, defined as the percentage of the student body that's composed of non-U.S. residents (No. 2 among college towns at a whopping 15.2 percent).

"You are ranking above some places that might be considered 'more international,'" AIER president Stephen Adams said Monday. "That aspect — to be able to offer that international experience — is very marketable for colleges."


1. Ithaca, N.Y.

2. Ames, Iowa.

3. State College, Pa.

4. Crestview/Fort Walton Beach/Destin, Fla.

5. Iowa City, Iowa.

6. Corvallis, Ore.

7. Champaign-Urbana.

8. Blacksburg/Christiansburg-Radford, Va.

9. Charlottesville, Va.

10 Lawrence, Kan.

Sections (2):News, Local


News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Lostinspace wrote on November 26, 2013 at 7:11 am

Nitpicker's delight: "FEWER than 250,000 residents."

Dan Corkery wrote on November 26, 2013 at 9:11 am
Profile Picture

Thank you, Lostinspace. AP Stylebook is clear on "less, fewer." Story fixed.

Local Yocal wrote on November 26, 2013 at 7:11 am
Profile Picture

Let's be clear about that "diversity" at the U of I. International students pay full tuition, more than double what in-state students pay, and diversity at the university is a business decision. These internationals are from prominent families and represent a high to upper middle class strata, not a reach to traditionally under-represented populations. The U of I has gotten away with padding its diversity numbers by accepting more international students, who we train, and then go away with their expertise to the home country.

BlahBlahBlah2013 wrote on November 26, 2013 at 8:11 am

We would rank #1 if you count the number of wealthy international (Asian) students with either a Benz, Audi, BMW, or Infiniti. Nothing impresses me less than seeing a kid that can barely shave driving a $70k-$80k car that his family bought him, or her.

And Local Yocal I will agree with on this one. Diversity is probably a great thing for CU, regardless of the reason. But let's not fool ourselves. The U of I only cares about diversity if it brings in more tuition dollars. It's above all else, a business.


DakotaGreywolf wrote on December 01, 2013 at 8:12 am

Why in the world would you care what kind of car someone else drives or who bought it?  Would it make you feel better if they drove an American car?  I imagine the dealer here in the US that sold it to them is rather happy.  

BlahBlahBlah2013 wrote on December 02, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I don't care what kind of car someone drives. I drive an Acura. I'm not one of those, "Buy American", radicals. American workers built my car and it's a win/win. I was merely giving an example in support of the other reader's comment about how the U of I is quite diverse but diverse with very well off international students. One great example is every other Asian student driving a $100k car that their parents bought them. True, good for American dealerships. The point, again, is that the U of I is diverse because being diverse brings in more revenue. Not because it's a nice thing to do.


ERE wrote on November 26, 2013 at 7:11 am
Profile Picture

More kudos for the greatest college town duo in the world! I say that from here in Boston-Cambridge, which is great but cannot hold a candle to Chambana Urpaign :)