Many of us have known this for some time, but it’s always nice to hear someone else say it. USA Today just released a list of the 25 best small college towns in America. And while it might be a surprise to some, those of us who call Bloomington home can only smile in pride and satisfaction. Bloomington and Illinois Wesleyan University ranked #3 on the list.
The survey (which was conducted by schools.com) looked at several factors when determining its rankings. Post-graduation employment rates, average median salaries, local cost of living, and commuter travel time were all among the criteria used. Bloomington scored especially well in employment within six months of graduation for IWU students (72%), median incomes (about $42,000) and the modest cost of living (average housing cost is 18% of income). And those measurements may have actually underestimated IWU. According to the university’s own numbers, 96.5% of all 2014 graduates were either employed full-time or in graduate school six months after graduation.
All of this is great news as it adds to the percentage of educated residents in our community. Even if you’re not directly involved with IWU or a graduate, as a resident you are benefiting from the success. More local employment opportunities with competitive wages and reasonable cost of living is a formula to keep Bloomington growing strong. And a vibrant, growing community is critical to maintaining strong home values.
So whether you’re buying, selling, or just staying put: please join me in congratulating the City of Bloomington and Illinois Wesleyan University on this well deserved recognition.