Carolina #1 best academic value for N.C. and out-of-state students

The University ranks as the number one value in American public higher education because it offers students high-quality academics at an affordable price, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

For the 11th time in a row, UNC-Chapel Hill ranked first on Kiplinger’s list of the 100 universities and colleges that provide the best value to in-state students. The magazine also listed Carolina number one for the value offered to out-of-state students.

Kiplinger’s periodically has ranked the best public campus values since 1998; Carolina has been first every time. The new ranking appears in the February issue, and was posted January 3rd at www.kiplinger.com/reports/best-college-values/.

“Kiplinger’s takes a hard look at what we care most about at Carolina: providing a great education to a diverse student body at an affordable price,” said Chancellor Holden Thorp. “We established for the country the idea of higher education as a public good. So we are doubly proud to be recognized as one of America’s most accessible and high-quality public universities.”

The universities of Florida, Virginia and the College of William and Mary ranked second, third and fourth, followed by New College of Florida, and the universities of Georgia, California-Berkeley, Maryland at College Park, California at Los Angeles and California at San Diego.

Kiplinger’s changed its methodology this year to more strongly emphasize value because of the economic challenges facing higher education. For academics, the formula considered the percentage of students returning as sophomores and the four-year graduation rate. The magazine favored campuses with low sticker prices and abundant financial aid, with bonus points for schools that keep student borrowing low.

Kiplinger’s calculated value for cost and financial aid (low sticker prices, generous need-based aid and percentage of need met) and student indebtedness (low average debt at graduation and low percentage of students who borrow). Other categories were competitiveness (high test scores among freshmen, a low admission rate and a high yield as measures of selectivity and “intellectual synergy”); graduation rates (maximum points for the four-year rate; half that amount for a strong six-year rate); and academic support (number of students per faculty and freshman retention rate).

Kiplinger’s story, “Best Values in Public Colleges,” focused on how Carolina exemplified value. From the 1990s through the post-2008 recession, “UNC-Chapel Hill has been a leader for academic excellence, low cost and generous financial aid – exactly the criteria by which we define value,” the magazine reported.

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