Index ranks best US cities, towns for college students, Cleveland metro area ranks 12th

CLEVELAND - For the first time, the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor metro area is ranked on the Best U.S. Cities and Towns for College Students.

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) College Destinations Index ranks the Cleveland metro areas 12th out of 75 for best mid-size college (1-2.5 million residents) destination.

Census bureau data, academic environment, quality of life, which includes cost of living, arts and leisure and city accessibility, professional opportunities and eight others were factored into the 2012-2013 academic year rankings.

Topping the mid-size metros list is San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. Cincinnati Middletown also made the list, coming in at number 17.

"At a time when approximately half of current college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, the pros and cons of a particular college destination should be an important factor in making a college selection," said Julie Zhu, AIER research analyst in a news release.

In major metros, Boston, Mass. led the way. In small metros, Ann Arbor, Mich. took the top spot. Highest ranked for best college town is Ithaca, N.Y.

"The characteristics that make up a great college destination often make a location ideal for business, retirement and tourism," explained Steven Cunningham, AIER director of research and education. "The 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."

The AIER conducts independent, scientific, economic research for educational purposes.

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