Asheville Ranked #9 for Best Small College Town

UNC Asheville's campus, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, earns a top-10 ranking for 'Best Small College Town'
September 19, 2022

Asheville can add ‘Best Small College Town’ to its running list of accolades. According to a recent ranking, the home of UNC Asheville landed at #9 on a list of the 50 best ‘small’ college areas to live and study in the U.S. 

UNC Asheville’s picturesque campus, nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, earned this Top-10 distinction not only in recognition of its natural surroundings but also its close proximity to a bustling downtown that boasts a vibrant arts scene. 

“This recognition is well deserved,” said University of North Carolina Asheville Chancellor Nancy Cable, “because few other campuses across the nation can boast such a breathtaking setting where students can embrace their love of learning while simultaneously gaining a deep and immersive sense of place. 

“Whether engaging in the social and cultural life of one of America’s greatest cities or taking in the expansive beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” she added, “our students are able to expand their education in a way that is unique to UNC Asheville and enhances their success in becoming capable, compassionate leaders prepared to make a difference for good in their communities and across the globe.”

According to University Business, the ranking’s equally-weighted metrics included everything from being safe “to sheer fun” and factored in Wallet Friendliness, Social Environment and Economic Opportunities. 

The news comes as no surprise to Vic Isley, President & CEO of Explore Asheville. 

“Surrounded by the highest peaks in the East, Asheville nurtures big ideas yet remains grounded by its deeply independent roots. Students, artists and adventurers, entrepreneurs and hipsters, farmers and top chefs – all are drawn to and inspired by Asheville’s creative spirit and culture,” Isley said.

“UNC Asheville’s thought leadership and beautiful campus,” she said, “adds to that creative tapestry and environment.” 

The Best Small College Town ranking adds to a host of recent honors for UNC Asheville.

U.S. News extended a #8 ranking among National Public Liberal Arts Colleges, along with a #60 national ranking for Social Mobility. Programs in business, computer science and engineering were also singled out.

As well, Princeton Review cited UNC Asheville as Top-25 in the nation in its round-up of The Best 388 Colleges, including Green Matters: Everyone Cares About Conservation; LGBTQ-Friendly; College City Get High Marks; ​​Town-Gown Relations are Great; Most Politically Active Students; and Quality of Life.