Morgantown, the home of West Virginia University, has once again been recognized as one of the top 20 college towns in the country by the American Institute for Economic Research.

The town ranked fifth in “brain drain or gain” (year-over-year ratio of population with B.A. degree living in the area), sixth in cost of living (average two-bedroom rent), seventh in arts and leisure (establishments per 100,000 population in arts, entertainment and recreation) and ninth in unemployment rate (2011 U.S. Census). Morgantown ranked in the top 15 of all but one of the 12 categories factors evaluated.

The town has been ranked in the index each year, improving from its initial 19th-place standing in 2009. Last year, Morgantown was ranked No. 9.

A total of 12 factors are evaluated using the most current data available from the Census Bureau and others to provide a snapshot of each community’s overall academic and cultural environment, quality of life and employment opportunities in the area.

For these rankings, a college town was considered a metropolitan statistical area with more than 15,000 college students.

Ithaca, N.Y., was named the top college town in the nation in 2013. Four other Big 12 Conference schools made the list: Iowa State University, Kansas State University, the University of Kansas and the University of Oklahoma.

More information on the AIER College Destinations Index is available at



CONTACT: University Relations/News

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.