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The work begins for students across the country who face the daunting decision of where to go to college. The options seem endless. Big university or small private school? Close to home or far away? Urban life or a tiny town? The choices can be overwhelming, especially for those set on city living.

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To help narrow down the choices, Stacker identified the 50 best big-city college towns using WalletHub’s 2023 study, which rated towns based on factors like affordability and social environment. Each city in the rankings has at least 300,000 residents and a college population of at least 7,500 students.

This Indiana town ranked as the 36th best big city for college:


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Total score: 49.55

– Wallet friendliness rank: 176

– Social environment rank: 138

– Academic and economic opportunities rank: 249

IUPUI University Campus Building Indianapolis Indiana

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“Indiana’s most populous city includes tens of thousands of students scattered across several institutions, including Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis, Butler University, the University of Indianapolis, and Marian University. The city’s seven cultural districts focus on history and offer a buzzing culinary scene. Plans for a stronger public transit system are underway, and a host of museums, parks, and sporting events are welcome distractions from studying.”

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Top 10 big city college towns, according to Stacker:

#10. St. Louis, MO

#9. Colorado Springs, CO

#8. San Diego, CA

#7. Pittsburgh, PA

#6. Seattle, WA

#5. Atlanta, GA

#4. Raleigh, NC

#3. Miami, FL

#2. Tampa, FL

#1. Austin, TX