Cedar City Named Third 'Fastest Growing College Town' in America

Published: December 18, 2023 | Author: Clare-Estelle Perkins | Read Time: 2 minutes

Bird's eye view of the SUU campus

Cedar City has been named the third fastest-growing college town in America by BrokeScholar. The study shows the population has nearly doubled between 2000 and 2023 and is forecasted to have a population of 51,000 by 2030. This growth has brought enhanced cultural opportunities, increased educational resources and a stronger local economy.

Cedar City is the home to Southern Utah University and Southwest Technical College. SUU’s student body consists of more than 15,000 students from all 29 counties in Utah and all 50 states with 5.2% of the student population being international students from 77 different countries.

Cedar City has always been a close-knit, welcoming community with a strong sense of identity that SUU is honored to be a part of. For a lot of citizens, that identity revolves around the arts, the outdoors and entrepreneurship. 

Community leaders have always provided support to SUU, especially through the Utah Summer Games and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

In the late 1980s, Cedar City adopted the nickname "Festival City" to highlight the significance of the renowned Utah Shakespeare Festival. This moniker also encompassed other festivals, notably the Utah Summer Games, the largest sports festival in the state. As of 2004, Cedar City proudly earned the distinctive title of "Festival City USA" and has become a cultural hub of the southwest, home to festivals like the Midsummer Renaissance Faire, July Jamboree, Simon Fest and Sheep Festival, among others. The unique terrain of southern Utah also has helped make Cedar City the host of the state mountain biking championships.

The city also attracts outdoor adventurists of every kind due to its proximity to multiple national parks while simultaneously serving as a home base for people visiting the ski slopes in the surrounding mountains. The Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative program utilizes these parks and many other organizations to provide internships to local college students seeking real-world experiences. 

Being so close to these national parks creates opportunities for students as it is great for both education and recreation. The location provides hands-on experiential learning for students studying geology, biology, archeology, environmental psychology and outdoor recreation.

SUU works very closely with the community by hosting student events that benefit the public, resources like Head Start, the STEM Center, SUCCESS Academy and the SUU Education program is heavily involved with the Iron County School District and several other community partnerships, positively impacting Cedar City education. 

 SUU invites alumni and community members to celebrate the success and growth of Cedar City and encourages them to join in the festivals, vote, engage with the vibrant cultural scene and be a part of shaping the future of the fast-growing college town. Together, the University and community will ensure that Cedar City remains a place that all are proud to call home.

Tags: Cedar City Utah Summer Games Southern Utah Museum of Art Outdoors Utah Shakespeare Festival Community Events Shakespeare

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Nikki Koontz