Montana State University

Bozeman named one of the best small college towns

March 24, 2016 -- MSU News Service

Bozeman, home of Montana State University, was ranked number four on a list of the 25 best small college towns in which to live by Schools.com, an online resource for education information and national education news. The results of the study were also shared on the USA Today website. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham

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The city of Bozeman has been ranked number four on a list of the 25 best small college towns in which to live. Bozeman, the home of Montana State University, was the highest-ranked town in Montana on the list.

The rankings were made by Schools.com, an online resource for education information and national education news. Results of the study were also shared by USA Today on the college page of its website.

In its write-up about the rankings, Schools.com recognized that living in a vibrant college town can have a positive impact on a student’s education experience, whether those students are campus-based or taking classes online.

To determine its rankings, researchers looked at 170 cities with populations under 150,000 that are home to at least one four-year college or university, evaluating both economic and quality-of-life factors. Researchers also limited the results to two cities per state, taking only the two highest-ranked to create the final list of 25.

Cities were ranked on:

  • Percentage of the population ages 18-34
  • Percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree
  • Median annual rent as a percentage of median annual earnings
  • County employment rate
  • Percentage of commuters whose average travel time is less than 30 minutes
  • Walkability
  • The number of restaurants and bars per 10,000 residents

Of the cities on the list, Bozeman was ranked second for educational attainment, with more than 30 percent of residents having bachelor’s degrees. It also ranked second for restaurants, with more than 14 per 10,000 people.

MSU’s enrollment of more than 15,000 students was mentioned as a demographic perk for its large student population relative to the city population.

Calling Bozeman “a great choice for students who love outdoor recreation,” the study mentions the easy accessibility to ski areas, the miles of hiking and biking trails and the close proximity of Yellowstone National Park as lifestyle perks for students. It also lauds Bozeman’s big-city amenities packaged with small-town charm, and notes that Bozeman has four museums, numerous art galleries, a symphony, a ballet, an opera company and several community theaters.

Helena, home of Carroll College and Helena College, earned the ninth spot on the list.

Other cities on the list include Boulder, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Fargo, North Dakota.

In November, Bozeman was ranked as the fourth best college town by SmartAsset, a financial technology company that aims to provide research to help individuals make big financial decisions.

For more information about the Schools.com rankings, go to http://www.schools.com/articles/25-best-small-college-towns. For more information about Bozeman, go to http://www.montana.edu/about/bozeman/.

Denise Hoepfner, denise.hoepfner@montana.edu or (406) 994-4542

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