For the fourth year in a row, Paris has been named the top student study location in the QS Best Student City 2016 rankings; a title earned in spite of the horrific terror attacks that targeted the city last month.

The rankings explore the best urban study destinations for prospective international students, assessing the cities in five key categories, including: university rankings, student mix, desirability, employer activity and affordability.

Regardless of November’s barbarous attacks on the French capital, in which IS militants killed almost 130 people, including former HEC Paris MBA student Juan Alberto González Garrido, Paris has remained strong in the face of adversity with a thriving student community that has once again earned it the top position in the rankings.

“Paris is more determined than ever to defend its values of solidarity, freedom and creativity,” says Thierry Coulhon, President of Paris Sciences et Lettres, an association of Paris Universities.

The city achieved an impressive overall score of 404 out of 500, despite the fact it did not achieve first place in any of the judging categories.

Melbourne maintained second position for the second year running, while Tokyo has been ranked third, followed by Sydney in fourth.

Despite receiving the highest score in the university rankings category, London has dropped two places since 2015’s rankings, and three since the rankings of 2014, coming fifth in this year’s results for the QS best student city.

“It is principally our affordability metric which has dulled London’s edge in the rankings,” Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, told The PIE News. “Sadly, affordability is a pretty important influencer for many international students and we believe it merits inclusion.”

Sowter went on to say that London would have been the “clear winner” in this year’s rankings if the cost of living was not so high in comparison to other cities. Out of every student location included in the list, London was categorised as the most expensive city, even behind Los Angeles, with a score of just 15.3 out of 100 in terms of affordability.

He also noted that cities like Paris and London remain popular, the latter in spite of its cost, because of a “bucket list” appeal for people outside of these regions, something Sowter claims that “few global cities can match”.

This year, the rankings cited 75 student cities. London came out top in terms of university rankings; Melbourne was ranked first for its diverse student mix; Tokyo was the best student city in terms of employer activity; Kuala Lumpur was ranked the world’s most affordable city; and finally Sydney came top as the world’s most desirable study location.

Previously the QS rankings only included 50 cities, but this year they were extended to accommodate 75, while overall 122 cities were submitted for evaluation.

The City of Berlin displayed an impressive performance, rising seven places in total from 16th position in last year’s rankings to ninth position for 2016. Tokyo has also shown great improvement after leaping into last year’s top ten. The city achieved seventh place last year, while this year it jumps up to third.

Sowter says Tokyo’s affordability could account for this new position, telling The PIE News: “Part of the rise of Tokyo comes from the fact that there are two universities in the rankings within the Tokyo metropolitan area which had previously not been considered.

“Including them has appropriately strengthened Tokyo’s performance in both the rankings and student mix indicators.”

Climbing four places overall in the 2016 edition of the QS Best Student Cities index, Tokyo is now Asia’s leading entry, with Hong Kong following behind in eighth position.

Read the full QS Best Student Cities 2016 rankings…

Image via Shutterstock.

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