Making the grade

SMU helps propel Dallas to new status as ‘booming’ college town

SMU helps propel Dallas to new status as ‘booming’ college town

SMU, Southern Methodist University
SMU and its alumni wield an annual economic impact of more than $7 billion in Dallas. Facebook/SMU

When you think of college towns in Texas, Austin, College Station, and Lubbock almost immediately come to mind. However, Dallas holds its own in the college-town crowd.

In fact, the city of Dallas — home to Southern Methodist University and other distinguished institutions of higher education — is now a bona fide “booming” college town. A new ranking from credit card website CardRates.com places Dallas at No. 5 among the country’s fastest-growing college towns. Dallas is the biggest U.S. city and only Texas city on the list.

To be sure, SMU is the king of Dallas’ higher education scene. Nearly 11,700 students are enrolled there. Also on the campus of the private university are more than 2,300 faculty, staff, and administrators.

Earlier this year, SMU showed up at No. 59 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the country’s best colleges and universities. Among Texas schools, only Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin ranked higher.

“SMU’s national ranking is a reflection of a dedicated effort to provide our students with the opportunity to become society’s innovators and leaders,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner says in a release. “It also reflects the contributions of high-impact research and inspired teaching by our faculty members.”

In the Dallas area, SMU and its alumni wield an annual economic impact of more than $7 billion.

To create its list, CardRates.com looked at population growth over seven years, education level of local residents, economic growth, job opportunities, and cost of living. CardRates.com notes that the population of Dallas grew nearly 12 percent from 2010 to 2017, and that the number of jobs rose by 5 percent in just one year.

“With big-city life comes an abundance of things to see and do, and many large companies — and startups — that provide job opportunities for college grads,” CardRates.com says of Dallas. 

Those job opportunities are being spawned by major employers in Dallas like Bank of America, AT&T, UT-Southwestern Medical Center, and Texas Instruments.