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Manhattan ranks among college towns

By The Mercury

Manhattan is one of the nation’s top college towns, according to the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) College Destinations Index.

The city ranks number 14 on the index among college towns under 250,000 residents. The index considered academic environment, quality of life and professional opportunities.

The academic environment measurements are number of college students per 1,000 people, percentage of student body that are non-U.S. residents and the percentage of the 25-to-34-year-old population with bachelor’s degree or higher.

The quality of life measurements are cost of living, arts and leisure, city accessibility and creative class — percentage of workforce in the arts, education, knowledge industries, science, engineering, management and other fields.

Professional opportunities measurements are earning potential, entrepreneurial activity, unemployment rate and brain gain/drain — the year-over-year ratio of population with B.A. degrees living in the area.

“The characteristics that make up a great college destination often make a location ideal for business, retirement and tourism,” said Steven Cunningham, AIER research and education director. “A top AIER College Destinations Index ranking should be just as important to the town or city as it is to the schools located there and the families and students attending or considering them.”

This ranking of Manhattan as a top college town comes as Kansas State has been receiving numerous rankings among the top universities.

The Princeton Review’s Best 377 Colleges list features the university, ranking them highly in various categories including second in campus/community relations, fourth in quality of life, eighth in happiest students, 12th in best-run colleges, 13th in students’ love for their college, 14th in jock schools and 16th in most religious students.

The publication also ranked Kansas State 64th in fire safety, 79th in green rating and 99th in quality of life.

Earlier this year, Kansas State was named a top 75 public university in terms of best value for education in the Princeton Review’s book, “The Best Value Colleges: 2012 Edition.”

The university also made Forbes’ 2012 America’s Top Colleges list, which includes 650 colleges, and the U.S. News and World Report’s best colleges list as a top 70 public university and 139 overall, up four spots from last year. The U.S. News and World Report list also ranked the College of Engineering 75th in undergraduate engineering programs.

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