Weighing in Boston’s favour was the fact that 36% of Bostonians hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the 2000 census. Boston has 21 university-level institutions offering bachelor’s degrees or higher. The Boston metro has 74 university-level schools, including six of US News & World Report’s top 60 national universities: Harvard (number 1), MIT (5), Tufts (28), Brandeis (32), Boston College (37) and Boston University (56).

In Cambridge, 65.1% of the population holds a university bachelor’s degree or higher. With four institutions of higher learning, Cambridge is widely regarded as an education centre. Two of its universities, Harvard University and MIT, are among the world’s most renowned. With their distinguished faculties and impressive academic resources, they attract thousands of bright, motivated students and professionals to Cambridge.

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New York City came in third place in this category.

State: Connecticut, Maryland, New York State, Utah and Virginia

For this category, the judges were faced with excellent choices and a dilemma. Consequently, joint first place goes to Connecticut, Maryland, New York State, Utah and Virginia.

Estimates for 2004 are that 31.5% of Connecticut’s population holds a university-level degree. The state has 47 university-level educational institutions, a high number given its small size. Among its best known and respected education and research institutions are Yale University and the University of Connecticut.

In Maryland, 37.2% of the population have bachelor’s degrees or higher, placing it in a statistical tie with Massachusetts as the top state in the nation for educational attainment. It also has the highest concentration of professional and technical workers, and one of the highest proportions of doctoral scientists and engineers in the nation, according to the US Census Bureau.

Marylanders are served by 58 accredited two and four-year colleges. Virtually every kind of training and research required by business and industry can be obtained from a higher education institution there.

In New York State, 27.4% of the population holds a university-level degree. The state offers more than 300 universities and academic institutions. Among them are the well-known Cornell University, Columbia University and New York University.

In Utah, about 24.55% of people aged 25 and older holds a university-level degree. The state offers a host of well-known top-notch universities, including University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Utah State University and Southern Utah University.

Last year, the Milkin Institute ranked Utah among the top 10 states in the nation for doctoral engineers per 100,000 people. The state also ranks forth in the US for the percentage of over-25s who have completed high school (90.7%) and second in the US for higher education spending.

In Virginia, of 25-year-olds and older, 34.2% hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. There are six public doctoral institutions, 15 public four-year institutions, 23 community colleges and one two-year institution. There are also more than 40 private, not-for-profit colleges, over a dozen private for-profit institutions, and more than 30 out-of-state institutions operating in Virginia. The foremost educational and research institutions include Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia.