1. Austin, Texas
Future prospects: A
The lone "A" student who will no doubt be getting a swirly on the way to his next class is Austin, America's perpetual darling and the city of choice for expensive big city dwellers who like to say stuff like, "I need to get out of here... maybe Austin!" Yes, traffic is a nightmare, but because the city was once small, and boasted little more than UT and the capitol, getting from campus to anywhere you'd want to go is actually pretty easy sans auto. Despite the uncomfortable growth, it's still an affordable city with one-bedrooms averaging $1,180 a month. The scene here is fantastic, and even if you don't want to share your college bars with a thousand bachelor/bachelorette parties on E 5th St, the city's got plenty of live-music venues that you'll want to avoid only during SXSW. You want jobs? Austin's got more than any affordable city, ranking sixth on Glassdoor's list and being the only city ranking that highly with rents under $1,500/month. And while it might not be the hubbub of high culture that some older cities are, remember it's new to this whole "big city" thing. In a few years it might be even more of a nerd.