College grads can stretch their dollars in these cities

Over the next few weeks, college graduates will don caps and gowns, accept their diplomas and celebrate a great accomplishment. All those years of studying have led to this moment. And now, with degree in hand, many are a bit worried about what comes next.

Their concern isn’t irrational. According to the Federal Reserve, outstanding student debt hit a record $1.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2018. In addition, it is estimated that one in six college graduates will leave school with debt that exceeds their income.

So where will those post graduate earnings go the farthest? Is it a matter of location, location, location?

Yes. For the fourth consecutive year, Smart Asset has rated the best cities for college graduates.

Focused on the categories of jobs, affordability and fun, Smart Asset looked at a total of 10 metrics. Overall unemployment rates, unemployment rates for those with a bachelor’s degree, average earnings for college graduates and the number of job listings on Indeed went into measuring a city’s job score. The cost of living and monthly median rent costs factored high in determining affordability. Measuring fun, which can be subjective, meant looking at the size of the population between the ages of 20 and 29, average ratings for area bars and restaurants, and the overall concentration of entertainment and dining establishments.

According to the data analysis, college grads may want to migrate to the Midwest; six out of the 10 highest ranked cities are located there. They stood out from the competition for striking the right balance between opportunities and reasonable costs of living.

Dreaming of living on either the West Coast or East Coast? Don’t despair. Seattle, San Francisco and Boston made the top 25 cities for graduates.

Here are the top 10:

Columbus, Ohio
Nashville, Tenn.
San Antonio
Omaha, Neb.
Louisville, Ky.
St. Louis

Myriam DiGiovanni

Myriam DiGiovanni

After writing for Credit Union Times and The Financial Brand, Myriam DiGiovanni covers financial literacy for FinancialFeed. She is also a storytelling expert and works with credit unions to help ... Web: Details