Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has named the 100 best values in public colleges, ranking four-year schools that combine outstanding education with economic value.
While the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill takes top honors and the University of Virginia is the runnerup, the University of Maryland—College Park ranks No. 7 on the list. The annual public school rankings appear in Kiplinger’s February 2014 issue.
“The college landscape today is very different—tuition increases and student debt dominate the national conversation surrounding higher education,” said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “This year’s top 100 schools have made admirable strides to maintain academic integrity and standards while meeting the financial needs of their students.”
The University of Maryland's numbers that led to its favorable ranking:
- Total cost per year in-state: $19,957
- Total cost per year out-of-state: $36,207
- Average student debt at graduation: $24,700
Undergrad enrollment: 26,487
Student-faculty ratio: 18:1
Graduation rate: 4-yr., 63%; 6-yr., 82%
Located along the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., corridor, Maryland’s flagship university lands at number seven this year, its sixth consecutive year in the top ten. Its total cost falls below $20,000, and the net cost becomes $13,490, on average, after need-based aid is applied. Maryland’s low cost helps secure its spot in the top ten, but its academics are nothing to shrug off: The university admits fewer than half of its applicants, and its 18-to-one student-faculty ratio gives students plenty of face time with professors.
Kiplinger’s assesses quality according to the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include low sticker prices, abundant financial aid and low average debt at graduation.
The Rest of Kiplinger’s Top 100 Values in Public Colleges includes several colleges in Maryland and neighboring Virginia:
4. The College of William and Mary (Va.)
22. James Madison University (Va.)
27. Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
48. St. Mary’s College of Maryland
61. University of Mary Washington (Va.)
63. Salisbury University (Md.)
72. George Mason University (Va.)
84. Christopher Newport University (Va.)
86. Towson University (Md.)
88. University of Maryland, Baltimore County