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Old 06-14-2014, 10:45 PM
 
6,545 posts, read 3,102,479 times
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We retired to a college town. The university is very entwined with the town having been established a few years after the town itself. However, there are only 2500 students so its not like they are everywhere. Plus the tuition is almost $40,000/yr and the GPA required to get in is high so the students are pretty serious as opposed to party animals 24/7.

The towns founder established the university to "elevate the culture of the town" and I think it does that to some extent. As others have said, there are lots of cultural events to take advantage of if you are so inclined. Sometimes perception is everything and most people believe that having the college here makes this a better place to live. I think that tends to rub off on things that other people/businesses do in/for the town. It contributes to a civic pride that enhances the town.

The town also has a very active mainstreet/downtown merchants association that works overtime to bring things to the town that keeps the town thriving. The university is very active in this as well. They encourage student involvement and volunteer work in the town. Not sure how this started but the art fairs, food fairs, and other events throughout the year definitely add to the town and keep the downtown alive and thriving rather than having constantly revolving vacant store fronts like you see in some small towns.

They are also a large part of the towns economic engine far beyond the jobs they provide directly. No matter how lean times are they always have money. During the worst part of the recent recession they plowed 20 million into landscaping/ renovations on campus which were done by local businesses. They also recently revived their football program and are leasing a 1930's era stadium from the town as well as some deal for concessions. All told that is expected to bring over 60 million into the towns economy during the next 5-7years. The renovation provided jobs and business to the town at a time it was sorely needed.

I never really notice the students; in fact I have been surprised we don't see more of them. They are required to live on campus for the first three years so their housing is not really an issue. The seniors and grads who live off campus all live mostly in the same area by the school so if they have rowdy parties it only bothers other students. I never hear anyone complain and the locals are raking in rent from them so they don't complain.

They have a few bars that are mostly student hangouts. You don't see much of them at the nicer bars/restaurants in town unless their parents are in town treating them lol. And, if they drive(again I think they are not allowed cars the first two years) they usually go to the beach or a larger town nearby to clubs. There really is no issue with student DUI's or accidents.

There are rentals and owner occupied homes at all price points here so I don't think they have much affect except in the housing by the University. Recently, the college bought an old motel and they are renovating what was basically an eyesore into more student housing.

I cant really find any disadvantages related to the college and I see lots of pluses. It simply would not be the same town without the university.
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:52 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,569,320 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Unfortunately, not so in this highly concentrated college area. Rents are quite high due to students/faculty apt sharing. Property taxes are quite high b/c many private colleges do not pay a fair share to the town (and typically there is a low business base), and buying in to these preferred areas is quite pricey. The public school systems here in college towns are supposed to be top rated (though I'm not so sure about that) and thus, of course, much higher property tax (the public school budget is typically 66% of the total town budget each year).
You make a good point about property taxes in college towns ... and it's not only colleges. The City of Pittsburgh, with its extraordinary number of educational institutions per capita, also has a kajillion churches (famously tax exempt) and is known for its medical facilities (the biggest ones of which are also property tax exempt as non-profits). In fact, 39% of property within the city limits of Pittsburgh is tax exempt leaving home owners with the major burden of paying for all those organizations, many of which are astoundingly rich. Pittsburgh has somewhat of a balance in that housing there is very inexpensive there are far more houses extant than there are people willing to pay a lot for them.

But the number of entities not paying taxes in a given town in something a person interested in living frugally should pay attention to.
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:54 PM
 
35,108 posts, read 40,306,147 times
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Originally Posted by StressedOutNYer View Post
I've noted with interest how many times people have mentioned a desire to retire to a "college town" and began to wonder what the attraction (or conversely, repulsion LOL) of a college town would be for a retiree.

On one hand, I can imagine that someone might enjoy the activity, vibrancy and "youthful exuberance" of an area that is home to many college students during most of the year.

On the other hand, I can also imagine that the prospect of an overabundance of rental housing stuffed with partying students, half (or mostly) drunk and/or particularly distracted drivers on the roadways especially weekends and breaks, and just an overall higher level of noise and commotion for most of the year, could be someone's worst nightmare. (frankly, that would be me, LOL)

So what do you personally think of college towns as a retirement destination: Thumbs up, or thumbs down?

Thumbs down for me, obviously.
I always liked living in a college town and honestly I always got a job in one of the convenience stores close to the college just so I could interact with the students.
I always like working in truck stops as well though.
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:36 AM
mlb
 
Location: North Monterey County
3,196 posts, read 2,863,927 times
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I cannot afford to move home to the college town I grew up in - Madison, WI.

The property taxes are outrageous - my sister pays close to $5000 a year. My bill here is about a third of that. Even where we are considering retiring in California it isn't that bad.

There are college towns - where the university population is the dominant demographic - and then there are places like LA - where there's UCLA, USC, and a number of community colleges.

I would want to be in close proximity to a college/university with a great medical center - but I do not suffer fools lightly - and the backside of having a spirited community is that you have kids doing stupid stuff - ALL THE TIME.

I hate it when the community is pulled by the university and it's demands.

YMMV.
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:32 AM
 
89 posts, read 97,732 times
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We live in Lincoln, NE, home of the University of Nebraska & the State Capitol. The advantages are that we have a strong economy, tons of cultural, athletic, arena, and community events. There's a good mix of students, families, & retirees in the 200,000+ city. If you're wise in choosing an apartment/home, the students won't be a burden. I work for the University, I rarely see anything resembling offensive behavior. But I get to leave at the end of day, because I'm a typical mid-western suburbanite. OK the weather is unpredictable, but its still an awesome college town in my opinion.
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:53 AM
 
2,980 posts, read 2,710,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukesgrrl View Post
You make a good point about property taxes in college towns ... and it's not only colleges. The City of Pittsburgh, with its extraordinary number of educational institutions per capita, also has a kajillion churches (famously tax exempt) and is known for its medical facilities (the biggest ones of which are also property tax exempt as non-profits). In fact, 39% of property within the city limits of Pittsburgh is tax exempt leaving home owners with the major burden of paying for all those organizations, many of which are astoundingly rich. Pittsburgh has somewhat of a balance in that housing there is very inexpensive there are far more houses extant than there are people willing to pay a lot for them.

But the number of entities not paying taxes in a given town in something a person interested in living frugally should pay attention to.


Yes, Pittsburgh does have a high number of educational institutions per capita, not because it has so many educational institutions, but because it has so few people. According to Wikipedia, in 1950 the city of Pittsburgh had a population of 676,806, and in 2010 the city had a population of 305,704. So it lost over 50% of its population, while probably not losing any of its tax exempt institutions. It is very sad that the thieves in Pittsburgh city hall place the burden of balancing the budget on the homeowners. Offhand, I do not know if there is any property tax relief for property owners 62 and older. Other than that, it seems like a great place to retire with top quality health care, plenty of culture, and a lot less crime than other big cities such as Baltimore, St Louis, or Detroit.
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:29 AM
 
14,266 posts, read 24,021,014 times
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Originally Posted by james777 View Post
It is very sad that the thieves in Pittsburgh city hall place the burden of balancing the budget on the homeowners. Offhand, I do not know if there is any property tax relief for property owners 62 and older. Other than that, it seems like a great place to retire with top quality health care, plenty of culture, and a lot less crime than other big cities such as Baltimore, St Louis, or Detroit.
Who else is there to pay for the city services? If you try to put it on to the backs of businesses ... well, they will relocate elsewhere.
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Old 06-15-2014, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
12,293 posts, read 12,533,436 times
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If you want to keep up with what is happening on campus, most college newspapers offer free subscriptions online.
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Old 06-15-2014, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Port Charlotte
3,927 posts, read 4,789,633 times
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We live in Denton, TX, with two colleges: UNT with 35,000 and TWU with 15,000. Always music performances, plays, musicals, film presentations, etc. With the colleges came the club and music scene with Denton having the second largest music scene in Texas behind Austin. Lots of things always going on, with an active downtown, etc.
P
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Old 06-15-2014, 02:50 PM
 
14,266 posts, read 24,021,014 times
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Originally Posted by Restrain View Post
We live in Denton, TX, with two colleges: UNT with 35,000 and TWU with 15,000. Always music performances, plays, musicals, film presentations, etc. With the colleges came the club and music scene with Denton having the second largest music scene in Texas behind Austin. Lots of things always going on, with an active downtown, etc.
P

We looked at several houses in Denton, TX. It was a very interesting community and looked like a pretty good place to retire to.
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