These Georgia cities ranked among ‘best college towns’

To determine the top-performing schools at the lowest possible costs to undergraduates, WalletHub compared nearly 1,000 higher-education institutions in the U.S. across 30 key measures.

New report puts Atlanta, Athens among best best college towns in the country

Georgia is home to a number of boisterous college towns, and depending on one’s alma mater, there are some fierce opinions on which one is best.

New rankings from the personal finance website WalletHub found that Georgia’s college towns and cities shape up pretty well when compared to others across the country.

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In the new report, Atlanta was ranked as the 16th best college town or city in the nation, and the 9th best among “large” cities.

On the list of best small college cities, Athens came in at No. 19 and Statesboro at No. 24.

“Experts have argued that a school’s geographical location is just as important as a strong curriculum and supportive school environment to a student’s academic success and personal development,” the report’s authors wrote.

On the overall list, Austin, Texas; Orlando, Florida; Scottsdale, Arizona; Tampa, Florida; and Ann Arbor, Michigan took home the top 5 spots for best college towns or cities.

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So what makes a college town the best? The report ranked 415 cities of varying sizes in categories such as affordability, social environment, and academic and economic opportunities.

That included looking at things such as share of rental units, average costs of pizza beer, student gender balance, presence of NCAA Division 1 sports teams, share of part-time jobs and earning potential for recent college graduates.

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Here's the breakdown of Atlanta's scoring:
Atlanta ranked as the 9th best large college city in the country and No. 16 overall
Wallet friendliess rank: 272
Social environment rank: 9 
Academic and economic opportunities rank: 146
Total score: 58.82

Large cities were defined in the study as having a population of more than 300,000 residents, midsize cities as having between 125,000 to 300,000 people and small cities as less than 125,000 people.

The report looked only at the city proper, not the surrounding metro area.

Other findings included:

  • Savannah was ranked the 58th best midsize college town
  • Savannah ranked No. 1 for "lowest cost of higher education"
  • Statesboro ranked No. 4 for highest share of rental units
  • For best small college towns, Valdosta was No. 120 and Albany was No. 140
  • Among midsize cities, Macon ranked 113th, Columbus ranked 123rd and Augusta ranked 148th