Feb 11, 2012

Virginia Colleges earn Additional 'Best Value' Awards

The Commonwealth continues on a roll! Last month, Virginia’s colleges and universities made an impressive showing on Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges for 2012, with 7 schools named among the top 100 in the nation.

This week, USA Today debuted the Princeton Review’s annual list of best value schools, and although UVa got knocked off the top spot by the University of North Carolina, Virginia’s flagship institution ranked number two in the nation among top-value public colleges.

UVa was joined on the public school list by Longwood University, the University of Mary Washington, Christopher Newport University, the College of William and Mary (# 6), James Madison University, and Virginia Tech.

Across the Potomac, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the University of Maryland-College Park also found spots among top-value public colleges and universities.

Best values for area private institutions included Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, Randolph College, and the University of Richmond. Williams College topped the list, followed by Swarthmore, Princeton, Harvard, and Rice.Link

The Princeton Review selected its 150 best values—75 public and 75 private—based on data collected at 650 institutions identified as having “excellent academics.” Selection criteria covered academics, cost of attendance, and financial aid.

“We recommend these extraordinary colleges as our ‘best buys’ for 2012 and salute them for all they are doing to keep costs down and/or offer generous aid to applicants with financial need,” said Best Value Colleges lead author and publisher Robert Franek.

Average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges was $8,244 for in-state students in 2011-12—up from $7,613 in 2010-11, according to the College Board. For private four-year institutions, costs rose by 4.5 percent to $28,500 during the same period. But because virtually no one pays full sticker price, the Princeton Review took into account the availability of financial aid when determining best value.

“We’re very quick to say it can’t just be a low sticker price,” commented Franek. “The commitment has to be much deeper than that.”

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