As it stands now, I only have on average 750 students per day, and my population is 60,000.

How do I get more students to enrol?

I have bus stops EVERYWHERE, and the average waiting time is 21 minutes.

  • when you say bus stops, do you mean school bus stops?
    – kalina
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 10:36
  • Also, what school type? imho average wait times are (currently) a very bad way of judging a service. Traffic is overwhelmingly the main impediment to a successful city -- check the data charts first to make sure something hasn't glitched out somewhere.
    – user43524
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 14:10

4 Answers 4


First, the "population" number at the bottom of the screen gets exaggerated after it reaches 500. Stop looking at it to reason about the agents of the game. Instead, look at population -> details (-> students).

The number of students is determined by the number of each kind of residential building.

§  Low  (1x2)    4w   2sh   2st
§  Mid  (1x4)   40w  20sh  15st
§  Mid  (2x4)   40w  20sh  15st
§ High  (4x4)  400w 200sh 100st   <-- best but heavy traffic

§§  Low (1x2)    2w   1sh    2st
§§  Mid (4x4)   20w  10sh   10st
§§ High  (4x4) 200w 100sh   50st    <-- second best

§§§ Low  (4x2)   2w   1sh    1st
§§§ Mid  (4x4)   7w   3sh    4st
§§§ High (4x4)  70w  33sh   30st  <-- super easy mode

From this list, you can see that Poor, High density has the most students per building. It's also the hardest traffic generator by double. If you can stand the traffic, go for it... otherwise go for MiddleClass, High density.


If you want more students, the best way to do this is to increase your low income housing population. You can do this with new zones in low land value areas, or increase the happiness of current low income housing neighborhoods so that their density increases (be sure to upgrade roads where appropriate).

The reason low income housing should be the focus, is that unlike some mid-wealth sims and many high-wealth sims, their populace will not move in already "educated." Couple this with the fact that low income housing packs in the most population density per building, and this is the easiest way to gain more students.

  • Even educated students will still go to school.
    – Amy B
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 12:36

The important number to consider when looking into your education system is not your city's population, but in fact the total number of students. This can be seen in the bottom right of the screen by bringing up the education overview;


In addition, the way students arrive at an education building differs depending on the type of building;

  • Grade and High schools will require school bus stops to be placed around your residential areas, at 6am when the schools open, students will queue at the bus stops to go to school.
  • Community Colleges and Universities utilise your cities mass transit system, that is buses, street cars, etc.

In both instances (or indeed a combination of instances) the total number of students enrolled is primarily based upon the capacity to teach those students and the effectiveness of your road network to transport your students. If you run out of space then students cannot be taught, and likewise for if your students get caught in traffic and never arrive.

Some tips for ensuring maximum enrolment;

  • Use the education data layer to show where the bulk of your unenroled students are and target those areas with school bus stops for grade or high schools or additional mass transit for universities and community colleges
  • Ensure that your education buildings are built on very good road networks to handle the traffic, the grade/high school in particular will noticeably increase your city's traffic at school time
  • Use the road data layer to check where traffic jams are according and either upgrade your roads or create new, high capacity routes

There is actually a very quick and very easy way to increase the amount of students at your universities and unlock the associated rewards..

I agree with the common suggestions to maximise the amount of dorms you have and even to temporarily close other schools in your city, but there is one key thing missing from the posts I've read..

The best and easiest way to do this is by adding more universities to the city― there simply isn't a limit to how many you can have. They jointly contribute to the amount of students attending university in the city, and therefore to the upgrades. And yes, be sure to place the maximum three dorms on each new university you place.

The added bonus this approach gives is that it allows you to carry out more than one research project at a time ― up to the amount of individual universities you have.

Happy playing!

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