BLOOMINGTON – Indiana University, located in Bloomington, has often been referred to as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. It has made Bankrate’s list of top list of best college towns in America in 2023.
When searching for the perfect school, many students consider factors like the overall cost, campus size, amenities, academics, and student life. However, the location of a school can also be an important feature; a great college town can make day-to-day university life more enjoyable. Bankrate examined the cost of living, restaurant density, and safety, among other factors, to find the top college towns in the U.S.
Also known as the Tree City, Bloomington placed at number 6 on the list.
The city is known for its conservation efforts, and students are often attracted to Bloomington’s outdoor recreation and natural sites. The city is home to more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails throughout the town that cut through its wetlands, the hardwood forest, inland lakes, and caves.
- Primary university: Indiana University.
- Population: 80,303.
- Percentage of population enrolled in college: 85 percent.
- Cost of living: 0.3 percent above the national average.
- Safety: 11 percent safer than the average U.S. city.
- Estimated number of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops: 291.
Here are the other college towns making the list.
- Provo, Utah
- Athens, Georgia
- College Station, Texas
- Iowa City, Iowa
- Gainesville, Florida
- Bloomington, Indiana
- Morgantown, West Virginia
- East Lansing, Michigan
- State College, Pennsylvania
To find the best college towns of 2023, Bankrate evaluated 45 of the most well-known college towns in the U.S. using the following criteria.
Percentage of the population enrolled in college
According to multiple studies, peer-to-peer interaction is directly linked to a more satisfying and successful college experience. That’s why, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey, we selected towns where over 70 percent of the residents are college students.
Cost of living
Cost should always be a major factor when moving to another city — especially if you’re a college student. The college towns featured above are relatively affordable, according to data from Salay.com — with most having a cost of living below the national average.
You want to walk around town without looking over your shoulder at every step. That’s why we favored college towns up to 48 percent safer than the average city in the U.S., as reported by digital analytics company NeighborhoodScout.
Dining and entertainment
A big part of going to college is having fun. After all, you need to treat yourself for all the hard work you do. Using data from Walk Score, we chose towns with at least 150 restaurants, bars and coffee shops so you never run out of options.