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Germantown is the Worst… College Town?

December 19, 2017

 

It seems the folks at WalletHub have named Germantown the worst college town in the United States.

   Germantown is also the worst place to go shark fishing; the worst place to pan for gold; the worst place to hunt tigers; and it is also the worst place see gawk in awe at skyscrapers.

   Yes, we have a college. We are proud of Montgomery College. It is a wonderful institution doing great work educating thousands of students and preparing young and old for new careers and further educational endeavors. The Germantown campus is also the home of Montgomery College baseball team that has played in the Division III World Series 13 times. Yes, you read that right 13 trips to the DIII World Series. Take that Nacogdoches, Texas, ranked 108 and home to Stephen F. Austin State University, a four-year university. How many times have the Lumberjacks been in the DIII World Series? Not 13, right? Knew it. 

   It is a great place to get a start your career in many fields, especially nursing, as Montgomery College is the first community college to have a working hospital on its campus. Holy Cross Germantown Hospital opened in 2014 and is the anchor tenant for the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology at Montgomery College, an integrated academic, business, and research campus with locational opportunities where biotech, cybersecurity, and technology companies can co-locate.

   Germantown, however, is not Ann Arbor, Mich., — which was the ranked the best college town — and Montgomery College is nothing like the University of Michigan. While the population of Germantown and Ann Arbor may be similar, Ann Arbor’s population is about 113,000; it is hardly a fair comparison in terms of institutions of higher education. The U of Michigan is a four-year university and has 44,718 students enrolled in Ann Arbor. Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus had 7,048 students in the Fall of 2016.

   “It’s obvious the publisher(s) didn’t do their homework,” said Marcus Rosano, Director, Media and Public Relations for Montgomery College. “This rating, or this list, whatever it is they consider it to be, is not an accurate depiction of Germantown, or Silver Spring, or the county as a whole. Montgomery County is home to the largest community college in the state and we are thrilled to be in Germantown, Silver Spring and Rockville, as well as Wheaton and Gaithersburg and now with online classes, all over the world. If anybody did their due diligence before hitting the submit button, they’d know having a community college in one of the epicenters of job growth, cutting-edge workforce opportunities, elected officials who put for education first, and a public school system that is second to none makes Montgomery County, dare I say, a great college county.”

   Which not to say that the WalletHub is wrong. If you think about, Germantown is a pretty lousy college town. It is, in fact, expensive to live in Germantown. Cheap rent for students is hard to find. There are no dorms, which makes it hard to stay on campus. There no fraternity row. And yes, there isn’t much nightlife in Germantown, something that many residents have been heard to lament.

   The lack of nightlife is something that even the County has tried to improve. A few years ago, County Executive Ike Leggett set up a task force to improve nightlife in the UpCounty. It didn’t seem to have much success.

   It is bad enough that WalletHub erroneously included Germantown in the List of Best and Worst College Towns. But, Forbes magazine added salt to the wound by specifically calling out Germantown with this ill-informed paragraph.

   “At the very bottom of the overall ranking we find Germantown, Maryland,” wrote Karsten Strauss, a staff writer for Forbes. “Germantown, which is where Montgomery College is located, scored a total 33.57 out of 100. In the wallet friendliness category, when compared to all 415 other college cities and towns, Germantown ranked 359, and it placed 415 (dead last) in the social environment ranking. Its best placement—206 overall—was in the academic and economic opportunities column.”

    FLAG ON THE PLAY - Unnecessary Roughness on Forbes Magazine piling on a town in an already defenseless position. You're penalized 15 yards and a "talking to" about editorial integrity. 

    Clearly, Mr. Strauss, who says he has a degree in business journalism from Columbia University (which is in New York City which was ranked 29 in the large city ranking of college towns) did not do a modicum of research before scribing that paragraph. Had he done so, he would have found out that Montgomery College is a community college and is just one part of the Montgomery College system which has locations throughout the County. Had he done a shred of due diligence instead of just taking WalletHub’s word for it, he would have found that Montgomery College offers students a tremendous opportunity, but is NOT a full four-year university and Germantown was not a college town.

   It is a great place to get a start on a career in many fields, especially nursing, as Montgomery College is the first community college to have a working hospital on its campus. Holy Cross Germantown Hospital opened in 2014 and is the anchor tenant for the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology at Montgomery College, an integrated academic, business, and research campus with locational opportunities where biotech, cybersecurity, and technology companies can co-locate.

   It is a terrible comparison, but that didn’t stop the folks at WalletHub from including Germantown and Silver Spring, which also has a campus of Montgomery College in the list of worst college towns. (Germantown was listed last at 201. Silver Spring was ranked one spot above at 200— as if Silver Spring could actually be better than Germantown.) In a funny quirk which points out the complete lack of research or thought that WalletHub put into creating the list, the Rockville campus of Montgomery College — which is where the offices of the administrators of Montgomery College are located, including President DeRionne P. Pollard — was not even on the list.

   Interestingly enough, College Park — a legitimate college town — the home of the University of Maryland was ranked at 165, just 36 spots higher than Germantown. Heck, if Germantown could get some dorms, a few more bars, and late-night wings joint Germantown could move up to 164. Currently at 164 is Redlands, CA, the home of the University of Redlands. Everybody knows somebody, who knows someone who attended Redlands and has amazing stories of hanging out with townies in Redlands, right? NOT!

   Germantown has beautiful lakes, but you are not going to catch a shark in Gunners Lake. Germantown has forests, but you are not likely to find a tiger in woods at Black Hills Regional Park. Germantown has streams, but you are not going to find many folks panning for gold in Little Seneca Creek. Germantown has buildings, but very few higher than seven stories. Germantown has Montgomery College – and we are very happy about that — but Montgomery College is not a four-year college and Germantown is not a college town.

   Clearly, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet.

 

 

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