Duluth Named Top College Town

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UMD Students Benefit from Duluth's Culture and Job Opportunities

Duluth was ranked in the top 75 U.S. cities for overall academic and cultural environment, quality of life and employment opportunities.  
R.J. Zimmerman  
R.J. Zimmerman, a student in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics, landed a job as a financial representative.  

"Students come to Duluth and fall in love with the area," said Andrea Schokker, UMD executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) has ranked Duluth, Minn., as the 14th top location in the "Small Metro" category in the U.S. in its 2012 AIER College Destinations Index. This is the first year Duluth has been included in the top ranks.

The AIER index includes the top 75 towns and cities in the United States for college students, based on a larger evaluation of the 227 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas with student populations of 15,000 or more. Of the top 75 places receiving high ranking, only one other Minnesota location, Minneapolis-St. Paul in the "Major Metro" category, made the list.

"Students come to Duluth and fall in love with the area," said Andrea Schokker, UMD executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. "We have a great job placement rate, and many students who want to stay in Duluth are able to do so. For a town of our size, we have incredible cultural events and cutting edge businesses. Students embrace the many outdoor activities and enjoy being in a town and campus that makes sustainability a priority. Our hilltop campus has a breath-taking view of Lake Superior, but it's not just a view -- research into water and lakes is a focal point for many of our students, faculty, and staff."

Robert Zimmerman, a senior who will graduate in December, 2012, said Duluth deserves its high rank, "As a long time resident of the Twin Ports, I have always been able to match my activities like skiing and fishing with what the area can offer. The area is small enough to be comfortable, but large enough to have opportunities."

Zimmerman landed a position that starts right after graduation. "With great connections, I was able to acquire a job that touches on all areas of my educational background. I'll start as a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. By having this opportunity, I'll be able to stay in the area that I love while continuing to enjoy my passion for the outdoors."

In creating the index, a dozen factors were evaluated using the most current data available from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, National Science Foundation, and Small Business Administration to provide a snapshot of each community's overall academic and cultural environment, quality of life and employment opportunities in the area:

Academic Environment:
*Student Concentration:
number of college students per 1,000 population
*Student Diversity:
percentage of student body that are non-U.S. residents
*Degree Attainment:
percent of the 25-to-34-year-old population with bachelor's degree or higher

Quality of Life:
*Cost of Living:
based upon average rent for a two-bedroom apartment
*Arts and Leisure:
number of cultural and entertainment venues per 100,000 population
*City Accessibility:
percentage of workers over age 16 who commute on foot or by public transportation or bicycle
*Creative Class:
percentage of workforce in the arts, education, knowledge industries, science, engineering, management, other fields.

Professional Opportunities:
*Earning Potential: income per capita
*Entrepreneurial Activity:
net annual increase in total number of business establishments per 100,000 population
*Unemployment Rate:
percent of labor force without jobs but actively seeking jobs within the last four weeks
*Brain Gain/Drain:
year-over-year ratio of population with B.A. degrees living in the area

The complete AIER College Destinations Index analysis is available on AIER's website, www.aier.org.

Founded in 1933, the nonprofit American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) conducts independent, scientific, economic research to educate individuals, thereby advancing their personal interests and those of the nation.

Written by Cheryl Reitan, Novembert, 2012

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Contact Cheryl Reitan, creitan@d.umn.edu

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