Skip to main content

Accessibility menu

Skip to main content Skip to footer

A 'best college town' for students on a budget

Posted 9:43 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

An image from the bluffs in La Crosse, Wisconsin, overlooking the UW-La Crosse campus and the city.

La Crosse named the state’s most wallet-friendly, among the most economical in the U.S.  

College students in La Crosse and the state of Wisconsin should stay local if they want to save on their education, according to a new study from, a scholarship and grant search engine. 

La Crosse was ranked the No. 11 most economical college town in the U.S. and the No. 1 most economical place in Wisconsin for students to study, according to Manhattan, Kansas was the overall No. 1 college city. 

"This study confirms what we've always known: UWL is very fortunate to be located in such a student-friendly city. Among many great qualities, La Crosse offers affordable housing, healthcare, and social activities,” says UWL Chancellor Joe Gow. “It is the perfect college town." 

The rankings were recently reported by the New York Times.  

The study compared 100 cities based on various factors: 

  • Rent 
  • Cost of living 
  • Average cost of tuition 
  • Percentage of the population in their 20s 
  • Percentage of the population never married 
  • Unemployment rate 
  • Biking and walking scores  
  • Concentration of bars  

“UWL continues to offer a fantastic education at a public university price in a great community,” says UWL Assistant Vice Chancellor for Admissions & Recruitment Corey Sjoquist. “While many universities may claim to be in a great city, UWL tops that with La Crosse being a very affordable place for our students to live. It is no wonder why so many students enjoy their time at UWL and in La Crosse.” 

Wisconsin was the overall budget-friendliest state, with four cities landing in the top 25. And the Midwest dominated the list with 13 Midwest cities making the top 25. Learn more about the study.  

UW-La Crosse consistently ranks high on national lists 

This isn’t the first time UWL has been recognized as a great place to live and study. La Crosse is the best small college town in Wisconsin and among the best in the country, according to a new ranking from Preply, an online language learning company. And UWL maintains its strong standing on the “Top Public Schools Among National Universities” category of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges for 2023. On that list, UWL is the top-ranked comprehensive university in the UW System, outside the land-grant research campus, UW-Madison. 


Share your news suggestions

Submit your news suggestions using UWL Share by no later than noon on Wednesdays preceding the next Monday's edition.

For more information, contact University Marketing & Communications at 608.785.8487.