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."
TOP 10 COLLEGE TOWNS
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.
8. Blacksburg/Christiansburg-Radford, Va.
9. Charlottesville, Va.
10 Lawrence, Kan.