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Paying for College

Best College Values in Military and Special Academic Programs

Beyond the broad-based public colleges, these schools stand out for value and quality.

Kiplinger's Best Values in Public Colleges focus on traditional four-year schools with broad-based curricula. As a result, schools that offer great value but focus on special or narrow academic programs are excluded.


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For example, the academics for the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and Navy offer top academic quailty; they charge no tuition and pay students to attend. But applicants to the federal academies must generally obtain congressional or military nominations and serve in the armed forces after graduation.

Cornell University, best known as a member of the Ivy League, is another exception. Four of Cornell's colleges -- Architecture, Art and Planning; Arts and Sciences; Engineering; and Hotel Adminstation -- are part of the privately endowed university, which we consider a private institution. But three of Cornell's undergraduate coleges are land-grant state schools that charge much lower tuition. New York State residents who attend the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Human Ecology, and Industrial and Labor Relations pay about $19,000 a year for tuition and fees.

The senior colleges of the City University of New York are also excluded because the rankings factor in room and board, and the CUNY schools generally do not provide housing.

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