Alfred, New York is named the Ultimate College Town

Downtown in Alfred, NY
Picture-perfect and award-winning, Alfred, NY is the number one Ultimate College Town in the US. Turn right at the village’s only stoplight to enter Alfred State College or turn left for Alfred University.

At a glance

“Living in the Ultimate US College Town gives you access to both beautiful campuses and a supportive tight-knit community, including world-class faculty who judge their achievements by how students succeed at launching their careers. With students making up 85 percent of all residents in our village, you know we are student-centered."

Alfred State President Dr. Steven Mauro

Big Blue Ox graphic

Alfred, NY is the Ultimate US College Town.

Known for being friendly and offering a warm welcome even in the winter, Alfred, NY is ranked number one in a February 2023 nationwide survey to earn the nickname College Town USA for the home of Alfred State College and Alfred University.

Data analysis by Washington Post Reporter Andrew Van Dam defined the Ultimate College Town by ranking US Census Urban Areas with the largest share of college students. Urban Areas follow population-density patterns, not municipal borders.

Alfred is No. 1 by a wide margin.

Winning the number one national ranking proves that Alfred's picture-perfect environment away from big city worries stands out among all other university and college towns in the country. Van Dam called Alfred “the collegiest” a term he coined.

Van Dam describes Alfred as a village wedged into Western New York’s hills that is home to both a public and private school, Alfred State College and Alfred University. As noted in the Washington Post, "Students make up an astonishing 85 percent of the town's population... If you go left at the town's only stoplight, you're on one campus. Turn right, you're on the other. Now that's a college town."

Alfred is at the center of the US Northeast.

Located along the I-86 freeway, Alfred is a convenient and attractive college town for students from a wide region and around the world. According to NASA's Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), there are 104,464,746 people within 350 miles of Alfred. That amounts to approximately one-third of the US population. Visit Alfred and see for yourself.

Students across New York and from many states choose Alfred to take advantage of a caring academic community, enjoy low student-to-faculty ratios for personal attention, and be part of something special.

Alfred State College (ASC) President Dr. Steven Mauro said, “Living in the Ultimate US College Town gives you access to both beautiful campuses and a supportive tight-knit community, including world-class faculty who judge their achievements by how students succeed at launching their careers. With students making up 85 percent of all residents in our village, you know we are student-centered. Great ideas and innovations are shared across Main Street, many alumni met their spouses at the sister school, and everyone benefits from the wealth of recreation to share fun, fitness, and fellowship in such a friendly environment.”

Parades on Main Street in Alfred, NY
Alfred, NY is now named the Ultimate US College Town. Students from Alfred University and Alfred State College come together on Main Street for activities including Hot Dog Day which started in 1972.

Alfred University (AU) President Dr. Mark Zupan said, “While there is only one traffic light in Alfred, there are plentiful and potent intersections that benefit faculty, students, and staff—including those offered by our sister school, Alfred State College, and the friendly surrounding village. Set in a safe, bucolic valley in the Finger Lakes region of New York, our students make bold discoveries by pursuing multiple pathways and integrating their interests. Alfred University’s purpose is to help our students identify and realize their purpose. The combination of our small size, wide range of programs, applied learning opportunities, and commitment to student engagement through mentoring allows Alfred University to be a talent incubator and socioeconomic development engine.”

Village of Alfred Mayor Becky Prophet said, “In this beautiful valley of Western New York, the word Alfred is applied to three communities that coalesce into a single multifaceted gem. The Village of Alfred, nestled between the two schools, makes an intersection and a gathering place for the valley.  There is nothing like the sum of the Alfreds anywhere in the US or, perhaps, in the world.  We are the most collegiate of all college towns.  We are an excellent place to grow up.  We are a fine place to raise a family.  But most of all, Alfred is the best place to combine daily life and learning.  In Alfred, we live to learn and learn to live for all of our lives.”

Additional information is available from ASC at,, and AU at New York State leads the nation with the most and highest-ranked NYS Ultimate College Towns.

The full list of Ultimate College Town rankings by the Washington Post is based on US Census Urban Area Data. NASA's Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) is the source of information regarding the 104 million people surrounding Alfred.

Ultimate College Towns: National Top 25

Nat'l Rank US Census Urban Areas State Student Share Population 350-Mile Population Higher Education Institutions
1 Alfred NY 84.6% 4,500 104,464,746 SUNY Alfred State College and Alfred University                                 
2 Prairie View TX 77.8% 6,161 36,423,024 Prairie View A&M University
3 Slippery Rock PA 67.3% 6,550 100,962,665 Slippery Rock University
4 Cedarville OH 67.0% 4,204 76,878,751 Cedarville University
5 Oxford OH 62.3% 22,933 71,886,161 Miami University of Ohio
6 Air Force Academy CO 59.9% 2,833 9,380,557 United States Air Force Academy
7 Potsdam NY 59.8% 8,337 75,427,182 SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University
8 Hamilton NY 59.7% 3,863 94,012,765 Colgate University
9 Geneseo NY 58.8% 8,288 102,298,220 SUNY Geneseo
10 Athens OH 55.9% 27,450 90,621,398 Ohio University
11 Boone NC 54.8% 22,323 71,663,488 Appalachian State University
12 Delhi NY 54.8% 3,046 92,095,641 SUNY Delhi
13 Middlebury VT 54.6% 5,563 73,533,819 Middlebury College
14 Kutztown PA 52.2% 8,859 93,026,622 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
15 Whitewater WI 51.6% 14,346 52,704,085 University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
16 Pullman WA 51.1% 32,940 20,000,885 Washington State University
17 Raymond MS 50.9% 2,689 31,056,189 Hinds Community College
18 Canton NY 49.5% 7,041 76,113,118 SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence University
19 Ada OH 48.0% 5,137 74,225,420 Ohio Northern University
20 Dahlonega GA 47.8% 5,588 54,527,100 University of North Georgia
21 Cullowhee NC 47.8% 10,363 57,339,618 Western Carolina University
22 Cazenovia NY 46.1% 2,860 94,315,336 Cazenovia College
23 Ithaca NY 45.9% 56,833 99,100,146 Cornell University and Ithaca College
24 New Concord OH 45.1% 2,836 92,759,959 Muskingum University
25 Lexington VA 43.8% 9,435 76,385,204 Washington & Lee Univ. and Virginia Military Institute