The Ninth Best College Town is in Idaho and It’s Not Boise
Think back to when you started a search for where you wanted to continue your education after high school. Was the town a school was in an important factor in your decision?
For many college students it's important that a college town offers a lot of attractions like concert venues, theaters and shopping. The sports scene and dining options can be appealing too. We...apparently did it wrong, because we went to a small college in a dry Amish town with one nice restaurant and one coffee shop. But hey, they had a college radio station with an actual format and that was reason enough to stick it out for four years.
Wallet Hub actually developed a formula for what makes a good college town. When you crunch the numbers their way, there's one Idaho town that out paces 406 other cities and towns across the United States. Based on wallet friendliness, social environment and academic/economic opportunities Rexburg is the ninth best college town in the country.
The home of BYU-Idaho earned exceptionally high marks in "wallet friendliness." Factors that made up the "wallet friendliness" score included cost of living, share of rental units, average costs of pizza, burgers, movie outings, bowling and higher education and student loan debt per person. Rexburg was the third best college town for the share of rental units and that's why it really shined in this category.
How did Boise State Stack Up?
It's strange to see Rexburg so high on the list, because most people nationwide couldn't even find Rexburg on a map. If you're talking about "college towns in Idaho" people would immediately think of Boise. We're not sure if when they put together this list they were looking purely at Boise State or lumped College of Idaho and the College of Western Idaho into the score, too. When all was said and done, Boise ended up 31 out of 415 cities/towns on the list. Boise's highest marks came in the "Academic and Economic Opportunities" category. Factors in that category included the quality of higher education, earning potential for college graduates, unemployment rates, entrepreneurial activity, brain drain and job-growth rate, amongst other factors.
Wallet Hub did a further breakout ranking college towns/cities based on the size of the town. Boise fell into their "mid-size cities" category and ranked number nine of 150.
Moscow Ranks Last for Idaho College Towns
Of course, you can't talk about "college towns in Idaho" without throwing Moscow in the mix and well, Moscow did ok but not great. Overall they ranked 173 of 415. They actually beat Boise in "wallet friendliness" and "social environment" but checked in at 362 in perhaps the most important category - "academic and economic opportunities." That scored was dragged down by Moscow tying for the highest "brain drain." Wallet Hub defines brain drain as the "annual change in the share of the population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher."