MONEY's College Value Rankings Here is our honor roll of four-year colleges. All are bargains when their prices are measured against the quality of education they offer.
(MONEY Magazine) – Drumroll, please. MONEY's fourth annual ranking of 989 leading colleges and universities has identified New College of the University of South Florida as America's best college buy. It edged out Rice University, which was our top pick for the previous two years. Rice slipped to No. 2, largely because it hiked tuition and fees 9.4% to $9,650 for '93-'94, topping the 5% increase (to $7,943) at the Sarasota school. (Our top 100 begins at right and continues on the following pages.) The schools that did best in our analysis charge lower tuitions than institutions of similar quality, as measured by these factors: Faculty resources. We compared the number of full-time and part-time undergraduate teaching faculty with the number of full-time and part-time undergraduates. Average for our sample: 14 to 1. Faculty deployment. We examined the ratio of students to tenured faculty who actually taught courses in the fall of '92. Average: 30 to 1. Core faculty. We calculated the ratio of students to faculty members holding the highest degrees available in their fields. Average: 19 to 1. Library resources. We divided the total of all reference materials by the number of undergrads and graduate students using the library.
Instructional budget. We used figures reported by colleges to the Department of Education. Average per student: $4,800. Student services budget. This is what a school spends on things like counseling and student activities. Average per student: $1,100.
Entrance examination results. We used the percentage of '92 freshmen scoring above 500 on the SAT verbal and math exams (average: verbal 41%, math 59%), or above 23 on the composite ACT (average: 39%). Class rank. We considered the percentage of freshmen who finished in the top fifth (average: 44%) or the top quarter (51%) of their high school classes. High school grade point average. This is the freshman class' average high school GPA on a four-point scale. Average for all colleges: 2.9. Freshman retention rate. This is the percentage of '91 freshmen who returned the following year. Average: 77%. , Graduation rates. This is the percentage of students who earn a degree in four years (average: 46%) and six years (57%). Advanced study. We measured the percentage of graduates who went on to professional or graduate schools. Average: 27%. Default ratio on student loans. The percentage of students who default on loans within two years of leaving school helps identify colleges whose graduates may be ill-prepared for careers. Average: 7%. Number of graduates who earn doctorates. We used the National Research Council's count of each college's graduates who went on to earn Ph.D.s between 1981 and 1990. Business success. We relied on a tally of the schools attended by the 70,000 top corporate executives listed in Standard & Poor's Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives. Note: Our analysis doesn't adjust tuitions to account for financial aid, because such awards vary widely. Also, to help students searching nationwide for college bargains, we use out-of-state tuitions for public schools. (A separate ranking of publics by resident tuition and fees appears on page 22.) Once again, we gathered our data with the help of Orchard House of Concord, Mass., a publisher of college directories. Additional information came from John Minter Associates of Boulder.
Top 100 1- New College of the U. of South Fla. 2- Rice University (Texas) 3- Rutgers College (N.J.) 4- Trenton State College (N.J.) 5- California Institute of Technology 6- U. of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign 7- U. of North Carolina- Chapel Hill 8- Northeast Missouri State U. 9- State U. of N.Y.- Binghamton 10- Hanover College (Ind.) 11- University of Washington 12- Douglass College (N.J.) 13- Grove City College (Pa.) 14- St. Mary's College of Maryland 15- Georgia Institute of Technology 16- University of Texas- Austin 17- Spelman College (Ga.) 18- State U. of N.Y.- Albany 19- New Mexico Inst. of Mining & Tech. 20- State U. of N.Y.- Stony Brook 21- University of Georgia 22- Fisk University (Tenn.) 23- Pomona College (Calif.) 24- Livingston College (N.J.) 25- Harvey Mudd College (Calif.) 26- University of Kentucky 27- Auburn University (Ala.) 28- Yale University (Conn.) 29- State U. of N.Y.- Geneseo 30- University of Wisconsin - Madison 31- State U. of N.Y. Buffalo 32- Mary Washington College (Va.) 33- Baylor University (Texas) 34- University of Iowa 35- University of Florida 36- Wabash College (Ind.) 37- James Madison University (Va.) 38- Samford University (Ala.) 39- Illinois College 40- Princeton University (N.J.) 41- Trinity University (Texas) 42- Texas A&M U.-College Station 43- Swarthmore College (Pa.) 44- Johns Hopkins University (Md.) 45- Washington and Lee University (Va.) 46- Hendrix College (Ark.) 47- Centenary College of Louisiana 48- Centre College (Ky.) 49- Cook College (N.J.) 50- Iowa State U. of Science & Tech. 51- Harvard University (Mass.) 52- University of Virginia 53- Clemson University (S.C.) 54- Columbia University (N.Y.) 55- University of the South (Tenn.) 56- Hillsdale College (Mich.) 57- Berry College (Ga.) 58- University of South Carolina 59- Miami University (Ohio) 60- Ohio University 61- MacMurray College (Ill.) 62- University of Tulsa (Okla.) 63- Emory and Henry College (Va.) 64- Williams College (Mass.) 65- Agnes Scott College (Ga.) 66- College of Notre Dame of Maryland 67- Davidson College (N.C.) 68- University of California-Berkeley 69- Grinnell College (Iowa) 70- Wake Forest University (N.C.) 71- Rosemont College (Pa.) 72- University of Missouri- Columbia 73- Drury College (Mo.) 74- Dartmouth College (N.H.) 75- College of William and Mary (Va.) 76- St. Bonaventure University (N.Y.) 77- New Jersey Inst. of Technology 78- Wells College (N.Y.) 79- Chestnut Hill College (Pa.) 80- North Carolina State University 81- U. of California-Los Angeles 82- Michigan Technological U. 83- Claremont McKenna College (Calif.) 84- St. Mary's U. of San Antonio (Texas) 85- Northwestern University (Ill.) 86- Stanford University (Calif.) 87- Creighton University (Neb.) 88- Bellarmine College (Ky.) 89- Indiana University-Bloomington 90- Allentown-St. Francis de Sales (Pa.) 91- Virginia Polytechnic Institute 92- Siena College (N.Y.) 93- Austin College (Texas) 94- Southwestern University (Texas) 95- Michigan State University 96- Wesleyan College (Ga.) 97- Purdue University (Ind.) 98- University of California-Davis 99- Salem College (N.C.) 100-Widener University (Pa.)
More best values The 10 tables on these pages, drawn mostly from data used in our value analysis, rank the best buys among similar types of colleges and universities. We also list eight institutions that charge no tuition at all.
Small liberal arts schools* 1.- New College (Fla.) 2.- Hanover College (Ind.) 3.- St. Mary's College of Maryland 4.- Fisk University (Tenn.) 5.- Pomona College (Calif.) 6.- Wabash College (Ind.) 7.- Illinois College 8.- Swarthmore College (Pa.) 9.- Hendrix College (Ark.) 10.- Centenary College of Louisiana *1,600 students or fewer
Top state schools ranked by in-state tuition The 25 best values among public schools when we use in-state tuition and fees in our analysis
1.- UNC-Chapel Hill- $1,419 2.- New College (Fla.)- 2,030 3.- North Carolina State- 1,600 4.- University of Texas-Austin- 1,691 5.- University of Florida- 1,770 6.- University of Iowa- 2,352 7.- Auburn University (Ala.)- 1,950 8.- Georgia Inst. of Technology- 2,277 9.- Texas A&M University- 1,857 10.- University of Washington- 2,532 11.- New Mexico Tech- 1,784 12.- Shepherd College (W.Va.)- 2,040 13.- University of Wyoming- 1,648 14.- Florida State- 1,800 15.- University of Kansas- 1,917 16.- University of Arizona- 1,844 17.- SUNY-Binghamton- 2,989 18.- Evergreen State (Wash.)- 1,971 19.- Iowa State- 2,352 20.- University of Georgia- 2,229
Scientific and technical schools 1.- California Institute of Technology 2.- Georgia Institute of Technology 3.- New Mexico Tech 4.- Harvey Mudd College (Calif.) 5.- Iowa State University 6.- New Jersey Institute of Technology 7.- North Carolina State University 8.- Michigan Technological University 9.- Virginia Polytechnic Institute 10.- MIT (Mass.)
Costly schools that are worth the price A total of 68 schools charge more than $17,000 in tuition and fees. But only 16, ranked below by the academic strengths we measure, scored high enough in our value analysis to justify their lofty prices. < 1.- Yale University (Conn.) $18,630 2.- Princeton U. (N.J.) 18,940 3.- Swarthmore College (Pa.) 18,482 4.- Johns Hopkins U. (Md.) 17,900 5.- Harvard University (Mass.) 18,745 6.- Columbia U. (N.Y.) 17,840 7.- Williams College (Mass.) 18,795 8.- Dartmouth College (N.H.) 18,340 9.- Stanford U. (Calif.) 17,879 10.- Bowdoin College (Maine) 18,300 11.- Wellesley College (Mass.) 17,725 12.- MIT (Mass.) 19,600 13.- University of Chicago (Ill.) 18,387 14.- Washington U. (Mo.) 17,776 15.- Amherst College (Mass.) 19,072 16.- Duke University (N.C.) 17,160
Historically black colleges 1.- Spelman College (Ga.) 2.- Fisk University (Tenn.) 3.- Howard University (D.C.) 4.- Tuskegee University (Ala.) 5.- Xavier University of Louisiana 6.- Morehouse College (Ga.)
Eight unbeatable deals The following schools charge no tuition, which may make them the best deals in higher education. But we didn't include them in our value rankings because of the special circumstances noted below. -- Berea College in Berea, Ky. and College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo. require students to pay their way with campus jobs. -- Cooper Union in New York City offers majors only in art, architecture and engineering, while Webb Institute of Naval Architecture in Glen Cove, N.Y. restricts its majors to naval design and marine engineering. -- The U.S. Military Academy at West Point (N.Y.), the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. require graduates to serve six years of military duty. Graduates of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. must serve at least five years on active duty.
Women's colleges 1.- Douglass College (N.J.) 2.- Spelman College (Ga.) 3.- Agnes Scott College (Ga.) 4.- Notre Dame of Maryland 5.- Rosemont College (Pa.) 6.- Wells College (N.Y.) 7.- Chestnut Hill College (Pa.) 8.- Wesleyan College (Ga.) 9.- Salem College (N.C.) 10.- Wellesley College (Mass.)
Top values ranked by choosiness Here's how 45 of our top values compare when grouped according to their selectivity in admissions, as determined by the schools themselves.
Most selective Students at these schools come from the top 20% of their high school classes, with average grades of B+ or better and SAT scores of at least 1,200 or ACT scores of 29 or above. 1. - New College (Fla.) 2. - Rice University (Texas) 3. - Rutgers College (N.J.) 4. - U. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 5. - SUNY-Binghamton 6. - Georgia Institute of Technology 7. - Pomona College (Calif.) 8. - Harvey Mudd College (Calif.) 9. - Yale University (Conn.) 10. - SUNY-Geneseo 11. - Princeton University (N.J.) 12. - Trinity University (Texas) 13. - Swarthmore College (Pa.) 14. - Johns Hopkins University (Md.) 15. - Washington and Lee (Va.)
Highly selective Most students at these schools were in the top 40% of their high school classes, with average grades of B or better and SAT scores of 1,100 or above or ACT scores of at least 27. 1. - Trenton State (N.J.) 2. - U. of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign 3. - Northeast Missouri State 4. - University of Washington 5. - Douglass College (N.J.) 6. - Grove City College (Pa.) 7. - St. Mary's of Maryland 8. - University of Texas-Austin 9. - Spelman College (Ga.) 10. - SUNY-Albany 11. - New Mexico Institute of Mining 12. - SUNY-Stony Brook 13. - Livingston College (N.J.) 14. - University of Wisconsin-Madison 15. - SUNY-Buffalo
Selective Most students at these schools ranked in the top 50% of their high school classes, with average grades of B- or better and SAT scores of 950 or higher or ACT scores above 22. 1. - Hanover College (Ind.) 2. - University of Georgia 3. - University of Kentucky 4. - Auburn University (Ala.) 5. - University of Iowa 6. - Samford College (Ala.) 7. - Illinois College 8. - Hendrix College (Ark.) 9. - Centenary College of Louisiana 10. - Clemson University (S.C.) 11. - Hillsdale College (Mich.) 12. - University of South Carolina 13. - Ohio University 14. - Notre Dame of Maryland 15. - Rosemont College (Pa.)