President's Blog

What makes metro Washington a great place to go to college

With Kirk Hefflemire

The value and attractiveness of a university is not only on campus, but across the local area as well. The American Institute for Economic Research produces an annual ranking of regions called the College Destinations Index. The Washington, D.C., area is the second-best region for college students among large metropolitan areas, just behind Boston.

collegedestinationsindexWhat makes Washington, D.C., great for universities, and how do universities benefit their region?

The College Destinations Index is composed of 12 variables across the categories of student life, culture, economic health, and opportunity. The Washington, D.C., region has particularly high values for earning potential, as well as the concentration of innovative and well-educated workers. The relatively high percentage of workers who commute by foot, bike, or use public transportation also sets Washington, D.C., apart from other major cities. High housing costs and relatively less research and development spending are two areas in which the Washington region can improve.

This ranking highlights the advantage a vibrant and attractive region has for universities, but universities also help create robust regions, which produce and retain the best workers. Universities create the valuable human capital that drives the knowledge economy. You can read more about the economic impacts of universities here.