An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

2012 Princeton Review Best Values in Colleges

 

Princeton Review best values in college

Everyone used to agree that only two things were certain in life: death and taxes.

Well, I believe that we can safely add a third to this list: college tuition will rise!

Fortunately, the rising cost of college tuition has made it even more important for potential college students and their parents to take a long hard look at the reason they want to attend college. It no longer makes financial sense to simply go to college “because it’s the thing to do”. You need to make your college, and major decisions with a clear purpose and goal.

Your goal in making these decisions should be to graduate with the least amount of debt as possible, and the highest job prospects possible. one of the best ways to do that is to get the best value out of your college degree.

The Princeton Review has just released their annual list of the best values in colleges for 2012. According to their methodology: 

The Best Value Colleges for 2012 were selected based upon institutional data and student opinion surveys collected from Fall 2010 through Fall 2011. Broadly speaking, the factors we weighed covered undergraduate academics, costs and financial aid.

Additionally, we considered the percentage of graduating seniors who borrowed from any loan program and the average dollar amount of debt those students had at graduation.

The top ten public schools:

  1. UNC Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
  2. University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
  3. New College of Florida (Sarasota, FL)
  4. SUNY Binghamton (Binghamton, NY)
  5. University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI)
  6. College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA)
  7. University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
  8. University of Georgia (Athens, GA)
  9. University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
  10. University of Texas at Austin

The top ten private schools:

  1. Williams College (Williamstown, MA)
  2. Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA)
  3. Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
  4. Harvard College (Cambridge, MA)
  5. Rice University (Houston, TX)
  6. Pomona College (Claremont, CA)
  7. Washington University (St. Louis, MO)
  8. Yale University (New Haven, CT)
  9. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)
  10. Hamilton College (Hamilton, NY)

In this study, “Value” is defined as being able to providing an excellent education while also keeping costs as low as possible.

What do you think of the list?

Do you have any experience with any of these schools?

Is this the main criteria you will look for in a college degree?

Source: Princeton Review

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4 Comments

  1. It is interesting how many of the top public schools are in the Southeast, and how most of the private schools are in the Northeast…
    Dr Dean recently posted..The Best In Nurse Blogs: The Nerdy Nurse Advocating for Nurses EditionMy Profile

  2. Do they really not include starting salaries or another form of projected income in those calculations? I feel like that’s really important. Otherwise you’re not giving the best value, you’re giving the cheapest option. Regardless, I always find these lists fascinating.
    Penny recently posted..Weekend UpdateMy Profile

    • @Penny — I think they take “job prospects” into the equation, but I do not beleiev they actually look at starting salaries. But you are right, the starting salary and availability of jobs should be a critical factor in making this determination.

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