State College makes list of top college towns

It’s hard to avoid the fact that State College is a college town. After all, it’s part of the name.

But this week, the valley got a little bit happier when Penn State’s hometown was named one of the best college towns in the country by WalletHub.

State College came in No. 2 on the list, right behind Oxford, Ohio, home of Miami University, and just above Chapel Hill, N.C., seat of the University of North Carolina.

WalletHub, a website that puts out financial information for searching, comparison and review, tabulated its list based on three criteria. “Wallet wellness” appraised things like housing cost, rental units, cost of living and cost of education. “Youth-oriented environment” looked at number of students per capita, crime rate, night life and shopping. “Opportunities” weighed quality of education, earning potential, unemployment rate and entrepreneurial activity. There were 280 college communities assessed.

State College scored first place for most rental units and number of part-time job opportunities and second place for number of students per capita, again edged only by Oxford.

Pittsburgh, home of schools such as Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon, was listed at number 23 overall. Philadelphia, home to Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, was the lowest ranked Pennsylvania college town on the list, coming in at number 222.

“I think the distinction recognizes the really great place that State College is,” said borough Manager Tom Fountaine. “There is the energy, the intersection between the students and the long-term residents.”

Fountaine said the recognition reflects the same kind of information about quality of life in the area that they hear from locals and students themselves.

It is also just the most recent appearance on such a list.

State College is eighth on Best College Review’s rankings, and fifth on both Business Insider’s and American Institute of Economic Research’s assessments.