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Overall Best College Cities In America 2020: Charlotte Makes The List

A new study by WalletHub ranked the best college cities in America. Find out where our city finished.


CHARLOTTE, NC — With application season in full gear and college living costs reaching $27,200 per student for a 12-month period, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2020’s Best & Worst College Towns & Cities in America.

Our city came in at #51 overall! Raleigh, Durham and other NC cities also made the list.

To help college-bound high school seniors determine their future home for the next several years, WalletHub compared more than 400 U.S. cities – also grouped by city size – based on 31 key indicators of academic, social and economic growth potential. The data set ranges from the cost of living to the quality of higher education to the crime rate. View the overall results here and see the breakdown by size below.
Best Large College Cities*
1. Austin, TX
2. Tampa, FL
3. Seattle, WA
4. San Diego, CA
5. Las Vegas, NV
6. Pittsburgh, PA
7. Raleigh, NC
8. Minneapolis, MN
9. Atlanta, GA
10. Denver, CO
Best Midsize College Cities*
1. Orlando, FL
2. Scottsdale, AZ
3. Salt Lake City, UT
4. Reno, NV
5. Gainesville, FL
6. Cincinnati, OH
7. Henderson, NV
8. Madison, WI
9. Tempe, AZ
10. Durham, NC
Best Small College Cities*
1. Ann Arbor, MI
2. Provo, UT
3. Rexburg, ID
4. Charleston, IL
5. Stevens Point, WI
6. West Lafayette, IN
7. Charlottesville, VA
8. Orem, UT
9. Cambridge, MA
10. Santa Barbara, CA

*For simplicity, we used the term “Cities” to refer to both cities and towns.

Best vs. Worst
  • Johnson City, Tennessee, has the lowest cost of a two-bedroom apartment rental, $702 per month, which is 4.8 times lower than in San Francisco and Daly City, California, the cities with the highest at $3,339 per month.
  • Edinburg, Texas, has the lowest cost-of-living index for young people, 77.18, which is 2.9 times lower than in Stanford, California, the city with the highest at 221.91.
  • Savannah, Georgia, has the lowest cost of higher education, $17,255 per year, which is 4.3 times lower than in Evanston, Illinois, the city with the highest at $74,649 per year.
  • Stony Brook University, New York, is among the cities with the most enrolled students (per 1,000 residents), 947, which is 22.5 times more than in Cape Coral, Florida, the city with the fewest at 42.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit:

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