The University of Virginia continued its impressive showing on national “best value” rankings by moving up two spots on the Princeton Review’s 2016 list of top 50 schools providing the highest return on the cost of tuition.
In “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools that Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck—2016 Edition,” Virginia came in second place among top public universities (after UC Berkeley) and No. 14 overall among the “Top 50 Colleges that Pay You Back”.
Princeton Review selected schools based on a comprehensive analysis of more than 650 colleges, weiging over 40 data points to tally ROI (return on investment) ratings for the schools. Data analyzed covered academics, cost, financial aid, graduation rates, student debt and more. It also factored in data from PayScale.com.
Awarding UVa a “return-on-investment” rating of 94 (out of 100), Princeton Review editors praised the University for exerting “a tremendous effort to ensure that its undergraduates have access to an affordable education regardless of economic circumstances.”
Princeton Review also ranked UVa seventh for best return for students who do not qualify for financial aid (up four spots from last year) and 11th for best alumni network.
“On so many fronts that matter to parents and students alike, these colleges are truly standouts,” said Robert Franek, the Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher, and the lead author of the book. “They offer outstanding academics and generous financial aid to students with need and/or charge a relatively low cost of attendance. Some, phenomenally, do both. Their students also have access to extraordinary career services programs and a lifetime of alumni connections and post-grad support.”
The top 6 schools in the overall ranking included some familiar names among private institutions: Cal Tech (1), Princeton (2), The Cooper Union (3), Harvey Mudd (4), MIT (5), Stanford (6)—all of which coincidently have strong science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) undergraduate programs.
In addition to UVa at 14, top public institutions on the Princeton Review list were UC Berkeley (8), UCLA (24), and UC Santa Barbara (35).
And other Virginia schools to be included among the 200 Colleges That Pay You Back were the College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, Hampden-Sydney College, James Madison University, and the University of Richmond.
In December, UVa made a similarly impressive showing on Kiplinger’s Best College Values in Public Colleges for 2016, coming in third after the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Florida but ahead of UC Berkeley.
Also named in this ranking were the College of William and Mary, James Madison University, Virginia Tech, and Christopher Newport University.
And in the U.S. News ranking of “Best Value Schools,” UVa ranked fourth among public national universities after UNC Chapel Hill, Texas A&M, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Irvine.
Disclosure: Nancy Griesemer is a member of the Princeton Review National College Counselor Advisory Board, 2015-16.