These rankings are based on academic environment (student diversity, student concentration, research capacity, and degree attainment), quality of life (arts and leisure, city accessibility, creative class, and cost of living), and professional opportunity (earning potential, entrepreneurial activity, unemployment, and brain gain or drain). Major cities are defined as areas with populations greater than 2,500,000.

List produced by the Experts

  • 1. Boston, MA
  • 2. New York City, NY
  • 3. San Francisco, CA
  • 4. Washington, DC
  • 5. Atlanta, GA
  • 6. Chicago, IL
  • 7. Seattle, WA
  • 8. Baltimore, MD
  • 9. Los Angeles, CA
  • 10. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
  • 11. Houston, TX
  • 12. Philadelphia, PA
  • 13. San Diego, CA
  • 14. Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
  • 15. Detroit, MI
  • 16. Cleveland/Akron, OH
  • 17. St. Louis, MO
  • 18. Miami, FL
  • 19. Phoenix, AZ
  • 20. Tampa, FL
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Source: American Institute for Economic Research, The AIER 2016 College Destinations Index (aier.org)

Want more information on how this list was compiled? Find out more here.

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