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Eau Claire ranked among most affordable college towns

Photo caption: Phoenix Park in downtown Eau Claire is among the city's many beautiful recreational areas.

A new national ranking finds that Eau Claire is among the top 25 best cities in the country for college students to thrive on a limited budget.

To make its “best cities” list, analyzed more than 1,000 cities throughout the U.S., considering things like high populations of single people in their 20s, great walkability, low rent and cost of living, social opportunities, low unemployment and great affordability.

According to the study, Wisconsin is the most overall budget-friendly state for college students on a budget, with four cities (Eau Claire, Madison, La Crosse and Oshkosh) in the state making the top 25 list. The new study, featured in a Dec. 8 New York Times story, ranked Eau Claire 20th.

As the cost of attending college has increased in recent decades, more students are thinking about how far their money might go in a city they might call home for four or more years as they make their college decisions.

“Our students quickly realize that Eau Claire is a beautiful and affordable community to live in during their college years,” says Billy Felz, interim vice chancellor for enrollment management at UW-Eau Claire. “Blugolds take advantage of the many free opportunities they find here, including parks on and near campus, and miles of recreational trails for hiking and biking.”