Rates Tempe as Fifth-Best College Town of 2014

Categories: Around Arizona

List-centric website has rated Tempe as one of the top 10 college towns in the country for 2014 based on employment and recreational opportunities.

No one would mistake the site for a peer-reviewed scientific journal -- it's owned by moving-van companies, and it began its survey by breaking college towns down by their Football Bowl Subdivision. The site looked at housing affordability, "high walkability," whether college grads would be inclined to stick around after obtaining their degrees, entertainment and other factors.

Tempe came out No. 5.

See also:
-Tempe Rising: The Landlocked College Town Explodes with New Development -- as Planned

Here's the entire list, as sent to New Times by Matt Carmichael, the site's editor:

1. Ames, Iowa
2. Logan, Utah
3. Oxford, Ohio
4. Fayetteville, Arkansas
5. Tempe
6. Charlottesville, Virginia
7. Champaign, Illinois
8. Moscow, Idaho
9. South Bend, Indiana
10. Hattiesburg, Mississippi

This is the fifth year the site has put together the list.

The first thing we noticed is that Tempe should have done even better: Logan, Utah -- No. 2? Really?

Image: Evie Carpenter
Carmichael and his fellow data-crunchers wanted to create a list of towns that "share a synergy with the college that influences the entire community."

Tempe residents enjoy a solid mix of urban life and "college-town atmosphere," while the college provides thousands of local jobs, the site says, adding that, "Downtown Tempe bustles with activity and an abundance of shops, restaurants and galleries."

Our recent article about the high level of development going on downtown these days noted that things are about to get even bustle-ier. While the main campus of Tempe already supports about as many students as the population of Ames, Iowa or Logan, Utah, a massive State Farm development on the south bank of Tempe Town Lake will itself bring 8,000 or more employees to the area. A new, 1 million-square-foot business park is going up at Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive. Apartment units are sprouting up around the city like weeds. Meanwhile, ASU President Michael Crow keeps adding new development and renovations to the campus like it's the 1980s again.

Tempe ought to be passing places like Fayetteville, Arkansas, any year now.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

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Ryan Abbott
Ryan Abbott

I stand by my statement; if you think Tempe is a college town, you've never been to Ann Arbor, Iowa City, Knoxville, Auburn, Syracuse, hell Tucson has way more college vibe- or Flagstaff for that matter. I really wouldn't place Tempe even in the top 100.

Jesse Adams
Jesse Adams

well technically Tempe is home to the cardinals, their head office is based in tempe. They just play in Glendale.

Ryan Abbott
Ryan Abbott

Can you really take the article seriously when they state "Tempe is home to the Arizona Cardinals and the Arizona Diamondbacks"? Really? I can list by their criteria about 50 better college towns than Tempe. Tempe may have been a great college town 30 years ago, but today I would say it's not even the best college town in the state, much less the nation.

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Moscow, ID? Hattiesburg, MS? Really? That said, I was quite surprised that they picked Ames over Iowa City.


@eric.nelson745 Same here!  I used to laugh hearing Hawkeyes call it The Paris of the Midwest.  Until I went there.  Absolutely lovely city, at least when it's not snowing.

If I got to take one off the list, I'd remove South Bend, Indiana.  A dull city in ridiculous thrall to the religious elite who run Notre Dame. 

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@Jukes @eric.nelson745 Oh darn, I was gonna say you should see the REAL Athens of the Midwest... Athens, Ohio. Home of Ohio University. Never to be confused with its "big bro" Ohio State U. OU has about 25,000 students. Town and gown get along really well. Athens is absolutely charming in every conceivable way.

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