The first global ranking of student cities, published last month by QS, caused a stir around the world, reaching more than 500,000 people on Twitter and attracting more than 1 million hits on the topuniversities.com website.
Paris edged out London as the top city, benefiting from a concentration of leading universities with low study costs. Four continental European cities appeared in the top ten, while both Melbourne and Sydney reached the top six for Australia.
QS Best Student Cities Ranking rated the top 50 cities on student mix, quality of living, employer activity and affordability. Public information, published surveys and data gathered in the production of the QS World University Rankings were combined to produce scores.
Cities had to have at least two world-ranked universities to be included. Edouard Husson, Vice-Chancellor of the Universities of Paris, said the city’s triumph in the first QS student cities ranking had been welcomed both by the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, and by President Sarkozy. He said the accolade reflected the huge amount of work taking place in French universities and especially in Paris, with its high density of leading institutions.
Nunzio Quacquarelli, the chief executive of QS, said the success of Paris also reflected the affordability of study at French universities. Both domestic and international students could attend leading institutions at low cost. The ranking was welcomed in student cities across the world.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, was delighted that second-placed London had been confirmed as one of the best places on earth to study. “We have more bookshops than New York, more museums than Paris (which, by the way, are free) and less rainfall than Rome,” he said. “What’s not to like about London?” Other city leaders were almost as pleased as Mr Johnson.
In Dublin, for example, Andrew Montague, the Lord Mayor, said that the city’s appearance in the top 10 worldwide was “hugely useful” in raising its profile among prospective students. Media organisations in 30 countries reported on the ranking.
Forbes Magazine said the results would be welcomed by those who “enjoy bashing education in America” since Boston was the only US city in the top 10. However, Chicago, San Francisco and New York all joined it in the top 20. Students and alumni competed for bragging rights on social networking sites, where discussion continues on the relative merits of different cities. More than a fortnight after the ranking appeared, Amanda Drolet was still extolling the virtues of Boston on Twitter, while others argued for Berlin, Montreal and Barcelona.
If you have followed the QS World University Rankings in the past you’ll be accustomed to seeing a table dominated by US universities, so the top ten of QS Best Student Cities 2012 may make surprising reading. Paris tops the list, with five other European cities making the top ten: London, Vienna, Zurich, Berlin and Dublin. So what’s changed?Rather than focusing on individual universities, QS Best Student Cities 2012 looks at the broader experience of studying in different cities. While leading US universities undoubtedly offer world-class facilities and research, when other aspects of the student experience are taken into account several European cities offer distinct advantages of their own.One of these is undoubtedly affordability. At a time when many students have to take on ever greater debts to fund their degrees, universities in Paris and many other cities in continental Europe still offer high-quality education at affordable prices. International students at leading Parisian universities pay annual fees of less than US$1,000, compared to up to $18,000 in the UK and $40,000 in the US. This could amount to a whopping saving of $150,000 over four years.
QS are proud to announce the first ever Best Student Cities ranking. Based on a complex set of measures taken from public information, population sizes, number of educational establishments and their quality (as judged by the QS World University Rankings) the results are the first ever independent measure of the Best cities to study across the world.
The first global ranking of student cities will be published by QS during February, in response to worldwide demand for more independent information on the locations of the leading universities.
Surveys of international students, in particular, have shown that location is second only to the perceived quality of a university and its courses as an influence on study choices. Until now, however, there has been no specialist global comparison of university cities.
The new QS ranking will compare the major international study locations – those with more than one world-ranked university – from a student’s perspective. Among the 11 indicators will be affordability and employer activity, as well as independent assessments of the quality of living. Continue Reading