According to an international ranking of higher education centers, London remains the best place in the world to be a university student, beating out contenders like Tokyo, Boston, and Berlin. Amidst low marks for cost-effectiveness, the capital maintained first place again for the third year in a row, thanks to the world-class institutions along with their infrastructure and faculties, including Imperial College and King’s College London, as well as critical acclaim for inclusiveness to international students and graduate job prospects. Munich took second place, followed by Berlin, Melbourne, Zurich, and Sydney, who were all ranked third. In ninth place, Paris, Montreal, and Boston were all tied.
The education experts QS Quacquarelli Symonds generated city rankings based on their own international rankings along with survey data of 85,000 current and future students across the globe. They include cities with approximately 200 million residents and two or even more universities ranked in the QS world university rankings. Current London students praised the city for its “outstanding cultural, economic, and educational opportunities,” even though it was only ranked 15th in terms of desirability among prospective students, behind Auckland and Montreal. QS’s director of research, Ben Sowter, said: “With two of the world’s top ten universities located in the city, London reaffirms its position as a global leader in higher education.” That being said, rising Covid infections and persisting Brexit impacts may jeopardize London’s privileged position.” Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Manchester were among the top 30 cities in the UK out of 115 qualified cities. In terms of “student mix,” Coventry came in second only to Melbourne in terms of the proportion of domestic and international students in the local population, and also tolerance and acceptance. Boston was ranked first in the United States, thanks to its vicinity to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
In terms of cost of living, university tuition, and The Economist’s “Big Mac” index, which employs the local cost of a hamburger as an indicator for relative costs, the US cities with the highest cost-effectiveness were Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. According to QS, US cities are “suffering from a systemic decline” in their adequacy ratings, which take into account factors like pollution, crime, safety, and corruption, and also survey from current students. Tokyo was the most desirable city to study in, preceded by Toronto and Zurich. Boston was ranked 26th, whereas Durham, North Carolina – home to the prestigious University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University-was ranked 85th.
The lowest-ranked places to study include Monterrey, Mexico, and Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, was the most affordable city, ahead of Kazan, the Russian capital of Tatarstan.