The 10 Best College Towns In Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota for 2019:

  1. Morris, MN (Photos | Homes)
  2. Northfield, MN (Photos | Homes)
  3. Marshall, MN (Photos | Homes)
  4. New Ulm, MN (Photos | Homes)
  5. Crookston, MN (Photos | Homes)
  6. Rochester, MN (Photos | Homes)
  7. Minneapolis, MN (Photos | Homes)
  8. Plymouth, MN (Photos | Homes)
  9. Woodbury, MN (Photos | Homes)
  10. Bloomington, MN (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 Morris, Northfield and Marshall - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Morris ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

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

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

To crunch our data on Minnesota'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 19 places in Minnesota 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 Minnesota For 2019".

And it looks like Morris placed Summa Cum Laude.

Morris, MN
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 5,326
% Undergrad Pop.: 34.6% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $765 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 260.0% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Morris: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Morris is a city in Stevens County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 5,286 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat.

Colleges: University of Minnesota-Morris

Northfield, MN
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 20,297
% Undergrad Pop.: 24.4% (6th best)
Median Rent: $773 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 360.0% (10th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Northfield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Northfield is a city in Dakota and Rice counties in the State of Minnesota. The city is mostly in Rice County, with a small portion in Dakota County. The population was 20,007 during the 2010 census.

Colleges: St Olaf College, Carleton College

Marshall, MN
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 13,706
% Undergrad Pop.: 30.3% (4th best)
Median Rent: $625 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 410.0% (15th best)
Crime Rank: 12th best
More on Marshall: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Marshall is a city in Lyon County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 13,680 at the 2010 census. Marshall is a regional center in southwest Minnesota, and the county seat of Lyon County. Marshall is the headquarters of the Schwan Food Company and the home of Southwest Minnesota State University. Marshall is also the site of Exelon Wind's Marshall Wind Project.

Colleges: Southwest Minnesota State University

New Ulm, MN
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 13,249
% Undergrad Pop.: 7.7% (10th best)
Median Rent: $596 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 200.0% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on New Ulm: Real Estate | Data | Photos

New Ulm is a city in Brown County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 13,522 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Brown County.

Colleges: Martin Luther College

Crookston, MN
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 7,780
% Undergrad Pop.: 35.7% (1st best)
Median Rent: $666 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 340.0% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 14th best
More on Crookston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Crookston is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is the county seat of Polk County. The population was 7,891 at the 2010 census. It is part of the "Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area" or "Greater Grand Forks".

Colleges: University of Minnesota-Crookston

Rochester, MN
Overall SnackAbility
7.5
/10

Population: 112,683
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.1% (17th best)
Median Rent: $891 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 480.0% (20th best)
Crime Rank: 10th best
More on Rochester: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rochester is a city in the U.S. State of Minnesota and is the county seat of Olmsted County. Located on the Zumbro River's south fork in Southeast Minnesota, according to the 2010 United States Census the city has a population of 106,769. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the 2016 population was 114,011. It is Minnesota's third-largest city and the largest city located outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2015, the Rochester metropolitan area has a population of 215,884. It is the home of the Mayo Clinic and one of IBM's largest facilities. The city has long been rated as one of the best places to live in the United States by multiple publications such as Money and is one of the most educated cities in the world.

Colleges: Rochester Community and Technical College, Crossroads College, Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences

Minneapolis, MN
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 411,452
% Undergrad Pop.: 9.4% (9th best)
Median Rent: $941 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 600.0% (24th best)
Crime Rank: 25th best
More on Minneapolis: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Minneapolis ) is the county seat of Hennepin County, and the larger of the Twin Cities, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. As of 2016, Minneapolis is the largest city in the state of Minnesota and 46th-largest in the United States, with an estimated population of 413,651. The Twin Cities metropolitan area consists of Minneapolis, its neighbor Saint Paul, and suburbs which together contain about 3.5 million people, the second-largest economic center in the Midwest, after Chicago.

Colleges: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Augsburg College

Plymouth, MN
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 76,258
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.0% (23rd best)
Median Rent: $1,240 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 310.0% (5th best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Plymouth: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Plymouth is the seventh largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. Located 15 miles west of downtown Minneapolis in Hennepin County, the city is the third largest suburb of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, which is the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.52 million residents. The population was 70,576 at the 2010 Census.

Colleges: Minnesota School of Business-Plymouth, PCI Academy-Plymouth, Minnesota School of Cosmetology-Plymouth Campus

Woodbury, MN
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
9.5
/10

Population: 67,648
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.9% (15th best)
Median Rent: $1,448 (27th best)
Unemployment Rate: 330.0% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Woodbury: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Woodbury is a suburb of St. Paul and the largest city in Washington County, Minnesota. It is part of the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area. Woodbury is situated east of Saint Paul along Interstate 94. The 2016 population for Woodbury was 68,349, making it the 8th most populous city in Minnesota.

Colleges: Globe University-Woodbury

Bloomington, MN
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 85,417
% Undergrad Pop.: 1.0% (14th best)
Median Rent: $1,075 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 390.0% (13th best)
Crime Rank: 20th best
More on Bloomington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bloomington is the fifth largest city, as of 2016 estimates, in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is located in Hennepin County on the north bank of the Minnesota River, above its confluence with the Mississippi River. Bloomington lies 10 miles south of downtown Minneapolis. As of the 2010 census the city's population was 82,893, and in 2016 the estimated population was 85,319.

Colleges: Normandale Community College, National American University-Bloomington, Academy College

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

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

19 Best College Towns In Minnesota

Rank City Population
1 Morris, MN 5326
2 Northfield, MN 20297
3 Marshall, MN 13706
4 New Ulm, MN 13249
5 Crookston, MN 7780
6 Rochester, MN 112683
7 Minneapolis, MN 411452
8 Plymouth, MN 76258
9 Woodbury, MN 67648
10 Bloomington, MN 85417
11 Eagan, MN 66102
12 Richfield, MN 35993
13 Winona, MN 27153
14 St. Cloud, MN 67093
15 Blaine, MN 62453
16 Duluth, MN 86066
17 Brooklyn Center, MN 30885
18 Bemidji, MN 14803
19 Waite Park, MN 7457

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?