Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10
The schools in our top 100 best values in public colleges and universities continue to deliver strong academics at reasonable offerings -- in many cases by offering the same or more financial aid as in previous years.Here are our top ten picks for the 2009-10 school year.
The schools in our top 100 best values in public colleges and universities continue to deliver strong academics at reasonable offerings -- in many cases by offering the same or more financial aid as in previous years. Here are our top ten picks for the 2009-10 school year. The slide show begins with the navigation bar to the right.
1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Undergraduate Enrollment: 17,895 SAT: 75% scored 600 or higher on verbal/math; ACT: 82% scored 24 or higher Student/Faculty Ratio: 14 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 75%/88% Total In-State Cost: $15,296 Total Out-of-State Cost: $33,184 Average Debt at Graduation: $14,936 Chapel Hill, a consistent winner of Kiplinger’s top honors, maintains its lofty spot in part for its ability to attract and keep highflying students. This year, it fielded more than 23,000 applications and admitted about 7,400, giving it a competitive 32% admission rate.
2. University of Florida
Undergraduate Enrollment: 34,654 SAT: 65%; ACT: 73% Student/Faculty Ratio: 20 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 54%/81% Total In-State Cost: $12,863 Total Out-of-State Cost: $32,234 Average Debt at Graduation: $15,318 Low annual in-state costs and diverse academic programs are just a few reasons why this school ranks in the top of our list. On campus, students can find cutting-edge research facilities, ten libraries and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (pictured right), home of the Florida Gators.
3. University of Virginia
Undergraduate Enrollment: 15,208 SAT: 78%; ACT: 83% Student/Faculty Ratio: 15 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 85%/93% Total In-State Cost: $19,312 Total Out-of-State Cost: $41,312 Average Debt at Graduation: $19,016 Considered a public Ivy League school, the University of Virginia doesn't come with a top-tier price tag for in-state students with financial need. It charges them, on average, less than $5,000.
4. College of William and Mary (Va.)
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,850 SAT: 84%; ACT: 83% Student/Faculty Ratio: 11 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 84%/92% Total In-State Cost: $20,566 Total Out-of-State Cost: $40,358 Average Debt at Graduation: $12,859 This public school, which is the second oldest college in the U.S., looks and feels like an elite Ivy League institution. It has one of the lowest student-faculty ratios on our list and one the highest percentages of students who scored 600 or higher on the verbal and math SATs.
5. Binghamton University (SUNY)
Undergraduate Enrollment: 11,821 SAT: 66%; ACT: 83% Student/Faculty Ratio: 20 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 69%/80% Total In-State Cost: $18,175 Total Out-of-State Cost: $26,075 Average Debt at Graduation: $14,541 Binghamton charges $26,075 a year to students who are not New York residents – only one-third more than the in-state price. The school’s large number of international students and its dual-degree programs with universities in Mexico, Russia and Turkey give the term out of state new meaning; but Binghamton's strong academics and affordable price attract interest from students across the U.S. as well.
6. University of Georgia
Undergraduate Enrollment: 25,467 SAT: 58%; ACT: 62% Student/Faculty Ratio: 18 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 51%/80% Total In-State Cost: $16,636 Total Out-of-State Cost: $34,846 Average Debt at Graduation: $14,343 Most in-state students qualify for the merit-based HOPE scholarship, which covers tuition and mandatory fees -- making the school a great value for Georgia residents. University of Georgia is the nation's first state-chartered university, and recently it opened the world’s first stand-alone academic school devoted specifically to the study of ecology. It also is home to Georgia's State Botanical Garden, State Museum of Art and State Museum of Natural History.
7. University of Washington
Undergraduate Enrollment: 29,397 SAT: 48%; ACT: 63% Student/Faculty Ratio: 11 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 51%/77% Total In-State Cost: $17,676 Total Out-of-State Cost: $34,351 Average Debt at Graduation: $16,800 One of the oldest public universities on the West Coast, this top research institution draws strong students from around the world to its Seattle-based campus, where the 11 to 1 student-faculty ratio gives them plenty of access to professors who include Nobel Prize winners and MacArthur Foundation award recipients.
8. University of Maryland, College Park
Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,431 SAT: 66%; ACT: 76% Student/Faculty Ratio: 18 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 63%/82% Total In-State Cost: $18,455 Total Out-of-State Cost: $34,392 Average Debt at Graduation: $20,091 University of Maryland, known for its engineering, journalism and computer-science programs, has risen to our top ten by keeping in-state costs virtually unchanged while improving on quality, especially in its graduation rates. Maryland also provides need-based financial aid to 50% of its students.
9. SUNY Geneseo
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,451 SAT: 80%; ACT: 87% Student/Faculty Ratio: 19 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 58%/78% Total In-State Cost: $17,176 Total Out-of-State Cost: $25,076 Average Debt at Graduation: $18,700 Like the other State University of New York school on our list (Binghamton), SUNY Geneseo is a bargain for out-of-state students. Out-of-state costs are about $7,000 higher than in-state costs. Many public schools charge non-residents double the amount residents pay.
10. North Carolina State University
Undergraduate Enrollment: 24,741 SAT: 36%; ACT: 56% Student/Faculty Ratio: 16 Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 37%/70% Total In-State Cost: $14,390 Total Out-of-State Cost: $26,875 Average Debt at Graduation: $14,996 This large university comprises ten colleges in disciplines including textiles, design, agriculture and veterinary medicine. At $14,390, its annual in-state costs are below the average ($15,213) for four-year public institutions and second-lowest in our top ten, after the University of Florida. NC State's relatively low out-of-state sticker price, $26,875, makes it number 9 for out-of-state value.