The 10 Best College Towns In West Virginia For 2022


Editor's Note: We updated this article for 2022. This is our fifth time ranking the best college towns in West Virginia.
Swipe left for slideshow

Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and West Virginia is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in West Virginia are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in West Virginia for 2022.

The 10 Best College Towns In West Virginia For 2022

  1. Morgantown, WV
  2. Keyser, WV
  3. Fairmont, WV
  4. Charleston, WV
  5. Huntington, WV
  6. Wheeling, WV
  7. Vienna, WV
  8. Parkersburg, WV
  9. Elkins, WV
  10. Bluefield, WV

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Morgantown, Keyser and Fairmont - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Morgantown ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Read on to find out more or for more on West Virginia check out:

The 10 Best College Towns In West Virginia For 2022

Morgantown, WV
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 30,953
% Undergrad Pop.: 50.0% (best)
Median Rent: $840 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1086.2% (10th best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Morgantown: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: West Virginia University, West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown, Monongalia County Technical Education Center

Keyser, WV
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 4,956
% Undergrad Pop.: 22.4% (5th best)
Median Rent: $633 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 693.5% (5th best)
Crime Rank: best
More on Keyser: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Colleges: Potomac State College of West Virginia University, Mineral County Vocational Technical Center

Fairmont, WV
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 18,443
% Undergrad Pop.: 35.2% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $786 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 670.9% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Fairmont: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Fairmont State University, Opportunities Industrialization Center, Pierpont Community and Technical College

Charleston, WV
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 47,273
% Undergrad Pop.: 2.2% (10th best)
Median Rent: $751 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 546.3% (best)
Crime Rank: 10th best
More on Charleston: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: University of Charleston, Carver Career Center, West Virginia Junior College-Charleston

Huntington, WV
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 46,139
% Undergrad Pop.: 25.2% (4th best)
Median Rent: $727 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 740.2% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Huntington: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Colleges: Marshall University, Cabell County Career Technology Center, Huntington Junior College

Wheeling, WV
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 27,046
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.7% (8th best)
Median Rent: $645 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 651.3% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Wheeling: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: West Virginia Northern Community College, Wheeling Jesuit University, Scott College of Cosmetology

Vienna, WV
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 10,261
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.1% (9th best)
Median Rent: $633 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 673.0% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Vienna: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Ohio Valley University

Parkersburg, WV
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 29,732
% Undergrad Pop.: 11.0% (6th best)
Median Rent: $671 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 719.4% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 9th best
More on Parkersburg: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Colleges: West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Mountain State College, Wood County School of Practical Nursing

Elkins, WV
Overall SnackAbility
5
/10

Population: 7,017
% Undergrad Pop.: 9.5% (7th best)
Median Rent: $725 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 795.5% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Elkins: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Colleges: Davis & Elkins College, Randolph Technical Center

Bluefield, WV
Overall SnackAbility
4
/10

Population: 9,776
% Undergrad Pop.: 27.1% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $695 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1015.0% (9th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Bluefield: Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Colleges: Bluefield State College

How'd we figure out the best college towns in West Virginia?

To crunch our data on West Virginia's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 10 places in West Virginia with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In West Virginia For 2022".

And it looks like Morgantown placed Summa Cum Laude.

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in West Virginia, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

10 Best College Towns In West Virginia

Rank City Population
1 Morgantown, WV 30953
2 Keyser, WV 4956
3 Fairmont, WV 18443
4 Charleston, WV 47273
5 Huntington, WV 46139
6 Wheeling, WV 27046
7 Vienna, WV 10261
8 Parkersburg, WV 29732
9 Elkins, WV 7017
10 Bluefield, WV 9776

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?