Ranking: Ann Arbor No. 1 college city in America for 2021

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2018, file photo, fans cheer as the Michigan team takes the field at Michigan Stadium for an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Ann Arbor, Mich. The University of Michigan says fewer fans, if any, will attend games at The Big House if the Wolverines play college football games this year. The athletic department says a final decision will be made after conferring with medical experts, the schools leadership and the Big Ten Conference, along with government officials and agencies. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File) (Tony Ding, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ANN ARBOR – Tree Town is the top college city in the U.S. for 2021, according to a new ranking by personal finance website WalletHub.

From extensive on-campus activities -- not during a pandemic -- to powerhouse sports teams and a robust downtown, it comes as no surprise that Ann Arbor topped the rankings.

Austin, Texas came in a close second, followed by Provo, Utah, Irvine, California, Ithaca, New York and Raleigh, North Carolina. In total, 415 college towns and cities of varying sizes were ranked on the list.

In order to determine the rankings, Wallethub considered three key dimensions: wallet friendliness, academic and economic opportunities and social environment.

Sub-categories of the dimensions included: average cost of pizza and burgers, student loan debt per person, students per capita, student gender balance, quality of education, unemployment rate and more.

Each metric was scored on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the most favorable conditions for students. After results were in, Wallethub used the weighted average of each town and city across all metrics to determine its overall score.

Cities were categorized based on these population specifications:

  • Large cities: More than 300,000 people
  • Midsize cities: 125,000 to 300,000 people
  • Small cities: Fewer than 125,000 people

In order to make the ranking, college towns had to have a school population of at least 7,500 students.

To see the complete report, click here.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.