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What city will you call home for the next four years?

Searching for the perfect college is a hard task. There are many factors to consider: location, tuition cost, available majors, etc.

The criteria of a livable city may pose a greater concern for students with asthma due to some colleges being located in areas with poor air quality. For this reason, Alen created a list of the 15 Best College Towns for Students with Asthma to help students ease the stress of finding their ideal college. Check out our list below:

15 Best College Towns for Students with Asthma


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The List

#1 Flagstaff, AZ
(pop. 70,320)

Located in the southwestern United States, Flagstaff is a loving town with four (yes, four!) complete seasons. Flagstaff is has a few colleges in the area, namely Northern Arizona University, an accredited college and home of the Lumberjacks. The dry temperature in the area tends to help most people with asthma, earning Flagstaff the top spot on our list.

Colleges in the area:
Northern Arizona University
Coconino County Community
College America - Flagstaff

#2 Bozeman, MT
(pop. 45,250)

Bozeman is a scenic Western town with numerous list-topping awards from CNN Money, Livability.com, and other credible publications. It is also a popular destination for skiing and hiking. Despite Bozeman’s cold winters (which may not be ideal for certain cases of asthma,) the city has superior air quality, which is why the college town claimed second on our list. Montana State University is situated in Bozeman. It is the largest university in Montana and home to mascot, Champ the Bobcat.

Colleges in the area:
Montana State University
Academy of Cosmetology
Center for Biofilm Engineering

#3 San Luis Obispo, CA
(pop. 47,536)

Naturesque and serene, San Luis Obispo is a town located in the middle of the Coast Range, Wine Country and the Pacific Ocean. It features a 18th-century Spanish museum, nearby hiking and biking trails, and a whimsical Bubblegum alley that is comprised of two walls covered in chewed gum. Nearby colleges include California Polytechnic State University, Cuesta College, Central California School and more.

Colleges in the area:
California Polytechnic State University
Cuesta College
Central California School

#4 Grand Forks, ND
(pop. 57,339)

Grand Forks is a city located on the Minnesota and North Dakota border. It has a rich theater and arts culture which is brought to life by the North Dakota Museum of Art and Empire Arts Center. Grand Forks is the third-largest city in North Dakota and it is the location of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. It is the only school of medicine in the state. (Image courtesy of www.stateuniversity.com)

Colleges in the area:
University of North Dakota
Cuesta College

#5 Blacksburg, VA
(pop. 45,038)

Blacksburg is a family-friendly town with a popular university in the neighborhood: Virginia Tech. The city thrives on being a tech powerhouse. Blacksburg offers the perfect balance between technology and outdoor adventures. It is an ideal college town for an electronics-loving student.

Colleges in the area:
Virginia Tech
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

#6 Fargo, ND
(pop. 120,762)

Situated in the far north of the United States, the picturesque city of Fargo is home to North Dakota State University, which hosts a humble population of roughly 14,500 students. Attractions in Fargo include Fargo Air Museum, the Fargodome (where college football games are held) and the Red River Zoo which features unique cold climate animals such as gray wolves and red pandas (Google)

Colleges in the area:
North Dakota State University
Rasmussen College - Fargo (Main Campus)
Aakers Business College

#7 West Lafayette, IN
(pop. 71,782)

Northwest of Indianapolis, West Lafayette is a town of many attractions. It is the main location of Prophetstown State Farm, Fort Ouiatenon, Tippecanoe Battlefield Park (museum) and the Columbian Park Zoo. Purdue University is the town’s main university. The university has ten academic colleges, including the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, and others dedicated to science and engineering.

Colleges in the area:
Purdue University
Ivy Tech Community College
Saint Elizabeth School of Nursing

#8 Ithaca, NY
(pop. 30,756)

Ithaca is a small town located on Cayuga Lake, a member of the Finger Lakes area of New York. The adjacent university is none other than Cornell University, a private Ivy League research university founded in 1865. The campus is over 745 acres long and has provided famous alums, including Christopher Reeve and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The other college in the area is private liberal arts college Ithaca College.

Colleges in the area:
Cornell University
Ithaca College

#9 Ann Arbor, MI
(pop. 120,782)

Located west of Detroit, Ann Arbor is residence to The University of Michigan. The University of Michigan is one of the top research universities in the United States. Ann Arbor's economy is based on the university’s large pool of graduates and resources. Attractions in the Ann Arbor area include the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.

Colleges in the area:
The University of Michigan
Concordia University - Ann Arbor
Cleary University
Washtenaw Community College

#10 East Lansing, MI
(pop. 48,870)

Another Michigan town, East Lansing is located near the state’s capital of Lansing. Michigan State University is the main university in the area. It is a public research university with a student population of roughly 50,350 students. Attractions in the East Lansing area include W.J. Beal Botanical Garden and the Eli Edythe Broad Art Museum.

Colleges in the area:
Michigan State University

#11 Ames, IA
(pop. 66,191)

Located in Story County, Ames is a growing city with a lot of fun to offer. Reiman Gardens and Ada Hayden Heritage Park make this a desirable town for the outdoorsy student. Iowa State University of Science and Technology, often known as Iowa State, is the neighboring university in the area. Iowa State has a student population of 36,660 and offers over 100 academic programs combined under its eight colleges.

Colleges in the area:
Iowa State University

#12 Burlington, VT
(pop. 42,260)

Located the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain, Burlington is a scenic town with a lot to offer. From fishing to boating at Lake Champlain to panoramic lake views from Battery Park, the city has many outdoor activities available. The University of Vermont is a public research university located in the city of Burlington. It has a student population of 11,898 and offers multiple academic programs.

Colleges in the area:
The University of Vermont
Champlain College
Burlington College
Trinity College

#13 College Station, TX
(pop. 93,857)

College Station is an iconic college town located a few hours from the grand city of Houston, TX. Texas A&M University, one of the state’s top and oldest universities, is located in College Station. The university’s eleven academic colleges offer numerous options for majors. College Station boasts memorable attractions, from Texas A&M’s Kyle Field to Santa’s Wonderland, a spirited Christmas-themed park. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Colleges in the area:
Texas A&M University

#14 Bloomington, IL
(pop. 78,005)

Bloomington is located in central Illinois and hosts Illinois Wesleyan University. The university has a small student population of 2,090 and is home to their mascot, Tommy the Titan. Illinois Wesleyan University is an independent liberal arts college. Attractions in the area include the Miller Park Zoo and the McLean County Museum of History.

Colleges in the area:
Illinois Wesleyan University

#15 Champaign-Urbana, IL
(pop. 231,891)

Champaign and Urbana are two cities located right outside the Chicago metropolitan area. The counties in the area are home to The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a public university with a large student population of roughly 44,000. Attractions in the area include Krannert Art Museum and the Spurlock Museum.

Colleges in the area:
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Our Factors

We understand asthma triggers vary from student to student, which is why we created this list with a variety of geographical locations and climates. We used a list on the 50 Best College Towns in America as a starting point for our rankings.

Our next step was to thoroughly review each college on the list and rank them in order of their air quality rating using BestPlaces.net. The 15 colleges on our list had superior air quality ratings of 60+ out of 100, with 100 being the best score.

Please note: we advise students to evaluate each college town on our list with their own criteria and symptoms. We hope this list will serve as a beginning resource for students scouting potential colleges. Good luck on your new journey!


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