CORVALLIS, Ore. - The American Institute for Economic Research has published its "College Destinations Index," which ranks the top college destinations in America, and Corvallis was ranked No. 7 for 2009-10 in the "College Towns" category.

Location is considered one of the three most important factors students consider when deciding on where to attend school, which is good news for Oregon State University.

The rankings are based on academic environment, quality of life and professional opportunity, and are divided into tiers by the city's population size. Corvallis, which was included in the college towns tier of cities of 250,000 or less, stands up alongside Ithaca, N.Y. (Cornell), Ames, Iowa (Iowa State) and Champaign-Urbana, Ill. (University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana), in the rankings.

It is one of only two Pacific Northwest towns in the tier, the other being Bellingham, Wash. (Western Washington University), which was ranked at No. 20. Corvallis had the smallest population of all 20 cities included in the tier.

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Todd Simmons, 541-737-4611