Kent ranks #42 in Wallet Hub’s “Best College Town”


Photo Illustration by Rachael LeGoubin

Felicia Guadagni

Situated along the Cuyahoga River in Portage County, in an area just shy of 10-square-miles, lies the city of Kent and the university that bears its name. 

Currently home to more than 28,000 students, Kent State is already preparing to welcome the next freshman class, who is sure to consider more than just academics during their college search.

As they fill out their college applications, high school seniors weigh many factors when deciding which college or university to attend, just as university faculty build up areas across campus to attract potential students; however, the college town surrounding campus can be an overlooked factor by potential students and faculty alike.

Wallet Hub’s article “2014’s Best & Worst College Cities and Towns in America” sheds light on this important component. 

The article ranked 280 cities and towns across the nation that are home to a university with at least 10,000 students. The rankings were broken down into four components: wallet-wellness, youth-oriented environment, opportunities and overall score. 

Out of these 280 cities and towns, Kent was ranked 42 overall. Among the nine ranked Ohio cities and towns, Kent came in fourth overall.

Thor Wasbotten, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, feels the value of a Kent State education has made huge strides in the past 10 years, especially in regards to student life on campus and within the city.

“Ten years ago, you wouldn’t get the downtown that we have now,” Wasbotten said. “Ten years ago, you wouldn’t have the Esplanade connecting the campus to downtown. This is very valuable for the student experience.”

However, when taking a closer look at the four separate ranking components, a financial factor may be what holds Kent back. 

Among the Ohio cities listed in the article, Kent ranked third in opportunities and fourth in youth-oriented environment and overall, but in wallet-wellness, Kent falls to seventh. 

Ally Spitz, junior zoology major, feels the ranking seems pretty average, and Kent, as a community and a student body, could do better.

“The new downtown is a great asset for us, and it definitely draws people here now, but we also need to look into where the money is spent,” Spitz said. “I think those expenses need to be geared more toward people here now instead of the potential students.” 

Although there may be different viewpoints on the Wallet Hub ranking, Wasbotten emphasized that there are many different ranking systems, and that some carry more weight than others. Spitz agrees.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a ranking,” Spitz said. “Kent is making strides and continues to cater to the community and the student population.”

Contact Felicia Guadagni at [email protected].