Hong Kong has been ranked 8th in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Best Student Cities 2016 poll, dropping three places since last year.

The UK-based higher education data company QS compiles data based on factors such as university ranking, affordability, career prospects, desirability and student mix.

Topping the list of cities is Paris, followed by Melbourne, Tokyo, Sydney and London respectively. Beijing ranks 25th and Shanghai 39th.

Top ten cities in the QS Best Student Cities 2016 poll. Photo: QS.

Hong Kong scores particularly well in the university rankings owing to its high density of quality institutions.

Calling Hong Kong “a meeting point for different cultures, with a truly global outlook and atmosphere,” QS writes that the city has “a density of higher education excellence which only a few cities can beat.”

However, in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in October, the University of Hong Kong was squeezed out of the top three in Asia.

University of Hong Kong main building. Photo: HKU

While the city is ranked 7th in university rankings, it is in 30th place in terms of affordability and 15th for both desirability and career prospects.

Hong Kong’s “lack of affordable rents may be a barrier for some students,” reports the Guardian.

While the ranking was compiled before the terrorist attacks last month, the French capital Paris owes its top position to its high concentration of globally prestigious universities and low tuition fees.

To be considered for the ranking, each city must have at least two universities included in the QS world university rankings and a population of over 250,000. 116 cities qualified.

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Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.