The Best College Towns In Alaska For 2020

Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our time ranking the best college towns in Alaska.
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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and Alaska is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in Alaska are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in Alaska for 2020.

The 10 Best College Towns In Alaska For 2020

  1. Palmer, AK (Photos | Homes)
  2. Fairbanks, AK (Photos | Homes)
  3. Juneau, AK (Photos | Homes)
  4. Anchorage, AK (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Palmer, Fairbanks and Juneau - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Palmer ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Even though there are only 4 cities on our list, you need to remember there are another 333 places in Alaska that don't even have a college. One might say you gotta be in it in to win it.

Read on to find out more or for more on Alaska check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In Alaska For 2020

Palmer, AK
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 6,978
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.0% (4th best)
Median Rent: $951 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 1075.2% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 1st best
More on Palmer: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Palmer is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 5,937.

Colleges: Alaska Bible College

Fairbanks, AK
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 31,677
% Undergrad Pop.: 20.1% (1st best)
Median Rent: $1,372 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 819.8% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Fairbanks: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fairbanks is a home rule city and the borough seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska.

Colleges: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Juneau, AK
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 32,330
% Undergrad Pop.: 10.4% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $1,226 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 575.3% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Juneau: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The City and Borough of Juneau, commonly known as Juneau, is the capital city of Alaska. It is a unified municipality located on the Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, and it is the second largest city in the United States by area. Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of what was then the District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the U.S. Congress in 1900. The municipality unified on July 1, 1970, when the city of Juneau merged with the city of Douglas and the surrounding Greater Juneau Borough to form the current municipality, which is larger by area than both Rhode Island and Delaware.

Colleges: University of Alaska Southeast

Anchorage, AK
Overall SnackAbility

Population: 296,112
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.9% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $1,306 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 564.3% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Anchorage: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population.

Colleges: University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University, Alaska Career College

How'd we figure out the best college towns in Alaska?

To crunch our data on Alaska's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 4 places in Alaska with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In Alaska For 2020".

And it looks like Palmer placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in Alaska, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

4 Best College Towns In Alaska

Rank City Population
1 Palmer, AK 6978
2 Fairbanks, AK 31677
3 Juneau, AK 32330
4 Anchorage, AK 296112

Best College Towns By State

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