KILLEEN RANKED AMONG BEST CITIES IN NATION FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

Written by Jenna Weynand, Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce

KILLEEN, Texas – The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood MSA has debuted on the American Institute of Economic Research’s list of the 75 Best Cities For College Students. Killeen was ranked 19th in the category of Small Cities on the College Destinations Index.

The AIER’s 2012 College Destinations Index measures the informal learning environment objectively by looking at statistics covering 12 key criteria. These criteria fall into one of three larger categories that powerfully impact the student experience: Academic Environment, Quality of Life and Professional Opportunity.

Data for all 527 Metropolitan/Micropolitan Statistical Areas in the U.S. was collected, excluding localities with fewer than 15,000 students and any location missing data for more than two key criteria. The resulting Index is further broken down into four classes based on area size: Major Metropolitans with populations greater than 2.5 million, Mid-size Metros with one to 2.5 million residents, Small Cities with 250,000 to 1 million residents and College Towns with under 250,000 residents.

In its first year to be included on the list, the Killeen area ranked 19th in the nation among cities with 250,000 to 1 million residents. This groups Killeen with just a handful of other elite Texas college cities. The four major Texas metropolitans, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, all ranked in their perspective categories along with Lubbock, ranked 11th in the Small Cities category, and College Station, ranked 11th in the College Town category.

“With an outstanding community college and a new regional university representing a major university system, Killeen is poised to become an exceptional destination for the college bound student seeking both quality and affordability,” said Dr. Marc Nigliazzo, President of Texas A&M University – Central Texas. “TAMUCT looks forward to working in partnership with Central Texas College and its other regional community college partners to make this significant new ranking of Killeen a meaningful and permanent one.”

The data collected to create this index included information from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, National Science Foundation, and Small Business Administration, to provide a snapshot of each community’s overall academic and cultural environment. Data covered a range of topics including student concentration, degree attainment, cost of living, creative class, earning potential, entrepreneurial activity and unemployment rate among others.

“Killeen is a diverse, dynamic community and the Central Texas College student body reflects that,” said Dr. Thomas Klincar, Chancellor of Central Texas College. “This ranking validates what we have known for quite some time – affordable higher education and a low cost of living, along with Fort Hood’s cultural impact, makes for an unbeatable combination for our students. We look forward to playing a key role in continued growth.”

For more information or to view the full report, please visit www.aier.org/cdi.

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About the American Institute for Economic Research

AIER provides Americans with unbiased research and critical analysis based on the principles of positive economics. They educate individuals about how to protect their interests and they help policymakers make informed decisions for a better America. Founded in 1933, AIER is a donor-based, non-profit economic research organization. They represent no fund, concentration of wealth, or other special interests, and no advertising is accepted in their publications.

About the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce provides vision, leadership and support to businesses and community leaders to create economic prosperity. Through the priorities set by its board of directors the GKCC works to support its members, collaborate with and support public education and Fort Hood, improve the image of the community, and bring significant economic development to the region. Currently the GKCC has more than 1,000 active members.

About Texas A&M University – Central Texas

Texas A&M University–Central Texas was born in the spirit of community cooperation on September 1, 1999 as Tarleton-Central Texas and became a stand-alone university on May 27, 2009 as a member of The Texas A&M University System. A&M-Central Texas is a military friendly, upper-level institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

The student population at A&M-Central Texas is diverse and growing, currently serving over 2,500 students. Classes are offered at several convenient sites, including area community colleges and Fort Hood in order to accommodate both full-time and part-time students and to serve the entire Central Texas area. The university provides a wide range of flexible course schedules, including online, night, and weekend classes. For more information, visit http://www.ct.tamus.edu.

About The Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center.

A&M System members educate more than 120,000 students and reach another 22 million people through service each year. With more than 28,000 faculty and staff, the A&M System has a physical presence in 250 of the state’s 254 counties and a programmatic presence in every one. In 2011, externally funded research expenditures exceeded $780 million to help drive the state’s economy.

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