The 10 Best College Towns In Kansas For 2019


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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 Kansas 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 Kansas 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 Kansas for 2019:

  1. Hays, KS (Photos | Homes)
  2. Lawrence, KS (Photos | Homes)
  3. Manhattan, KS (Photos | Homes)
  4. Olathe, KS (Photos | Homes)
  5. Emporia, KS (Photos | Homes)
  6. Pittsburg, KS (Photos | Homes)
  7. Topeka, KS (Photos | Homes)
  8. McPherson, KS (Photos | Homes)
  9. Overland Park, KS (Photos | Homes)
  10. Lenexa, KS (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 Hays, Lawrence and Manhattan - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Hays ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

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

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

To crunch our data on Kansas'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 17 places in Kansas 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 Kansas For 2019".

And it looks like Hays placed Summa Cum Laude.

Hays, KS
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 20,938
% Undergrad Pop.: 21.1% (4th best)
Median Rent: $669 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 320.0% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Hays: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hays is a city in and the county seat of Ellis County, Kansas, United States. The largest city in northwestern Kansas, it is the economic and cultural center of the region. It is also a college town, home to Fort Hays State University. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 20,510.

Colleges: Fort Hays State University, Hays Academy of Hair Design

Lawrence, KS
Overall SnackAbility
7.5
/10

Population: 93,954
% Undergrad Pop.: 21.9% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $863 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 430.0% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 10th best
More on Lawrence: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lawrence is the county seat of Douglas County and sixth largest city in Kansas. It is located in the northeastern sector of the state, next to Interstate 70, between the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 87,643. Lawrence is a college town and the home to the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University.

Colleges: University of Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University, Pinnacle Career Institute-Lawrence

Manhattan, KS
Overall SnackAbility
7.5
/10

Population: 55,427
% Undergrad Pop.: 33.7% (1st best)
Median Rent: $898 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 510.0% (12th best)
Crime Rank: 10th best
More on Manhattan: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Manhattan is a city in northeastern Kansas in the United States at the junction of the Kansas River and Big Blue River. It is the county seat of Riley County, although it extends into Pottawatomie County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 52,281.

Colleges: Kansas State University, Manhattan Christian College, Manhattan Area Technical College

Olathe, KS
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 134,368
% Undergrad Pop.: 1.0% (14th best)
Median Rent: $952 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 380.0% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Olathe: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Olathe is a city in, and is the county seat of, Johnson County, Kansas, United States. Located in northeastern Kansas, it is the fourth most populous city in Kansas, with a population of 125,872 persons as of 2010. Olathe is also the fourth-largest city in the Kansas City metropolitan area. It is bordered by the cities of Lenexa to the north, Overland Park to the east, De Soto to the northwest, and Gardner to the southwest.

Colleges: MidAmerica Nazarene University, Regency Beauty Institute-Olathe

Emporia, KS
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 24,636
% Undergrad Pop.: 17.0% (5th best)
Median Rent: $640 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 730.0% (17th best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Emporia: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Emporia is a city in and the county seat of Lyon County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 24,916. Emporia lies between Topeka and Wichita at the intersection of U.S. Route 50 with Interstates 335 and 35 on the Kansas Turnpike. Emporia is also a college town, home to Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College.

Colleges: Emporia State University, Flint Hills Technical College

Pittsburg, KS
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 20,278
% Undergrad Pop.: 25.8% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $703 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 590.0% (13th best)
Crime Rank: 17th best
More on Pittsburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Pittsburg is a city in Crawford County, Kansas, United States, located in Southeast Kansas near the Missouri state border. It is the most populous city in Crawford County and southeastern Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 20,233.

Colleges: Pittsburg State University

Topeka, KS
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 127,139
% Undergrad Pop.: 3.8% (10th best)
Median Rent: $751 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 600.0% (14th best)
Crime Rank: 18th best
More on Topeka: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Topeka is the capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and the seat of Shawnee County. It is situated along the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County, in northeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 127,473. The Topeka Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, and Wabaunsee counties, had a population of 233,870 in the 2010 census.

Colleges: Washburn University, Washburn Institute of Technology, Bryan University

Mcpherson, KS
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 13,089
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.3% (8th best)
Median Rent: $740 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 260.0% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Mcpherson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

McPherson is a city in and the county seat of McPherson County, Kansas, United States, in the central part of the state. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 13,155. The city is named after Union General James Birdseye McPherson, a Civil War general. It is home to McPherson College and Central Christian College.

Colleges: McPherson College, Central Christian College of Kansas

Overland Park, KS
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 186,147
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.3% (15th best)
Median Rent: $1,084 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 370.0% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Overland Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Overland Park is the second most populous city in the U.S. state of Kansas. Located in Johnson County, it is also the second most populous city in the Kansas City metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 173,372.

Colleges: Johnson County Community College, Ottawa University-Kansas City, Cleveland University-Kansas City

Lenexa, KS
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 52,030
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.0% (18th best)
Median Rent: $1,042 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 350.0% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Lenexa: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lenexa is a city in Johnson County, Kansas, United States, and part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 48,190. It is bordered by the cities of Shawnee to the north, Overland Park to the east, De Soto to the west and Olathe to the south.

Colleges: Brown Mackie College-Kansas City, Grantham University, The Art Institutes International-Kansas City

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

If you're looking for the best college towns in Kansas, 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:

17 Best College Towns In Kansas

Rank City Population
1 Hays, KS 20938
2 Lawrence, KS 93954
3 Manhattan, KS 55427
4 Olathe, KS 134368
5 Emporia, KS 24636
6 Pittsburg, KS 20278
7 Topeka, KS 127139
8 Mcpherson, KS 13089
9 Overland Park, KS 186147
10 Lenexa, KS 52030
11 Winfield, KS 12180
12 Atchison, KS 10727
13 Wichita, KS 389054
14 Leavenworth, KS 35958
15 Kansas City, KS 151042
16 Salina, KS 47513
17 Ottawa, KS 12321

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?