Jan. 7, 2008 -- Based on the quality of both its academic and financial aid offerings, the University of Virginia ranks third among more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities across the nation for "best value," according to an annual ranking by Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.
The rankings of institutions that, in the words of the magazine editors, "combine outstanding economic value with a top-notch education," appear in the February issue, which goes on sale today. They are also available online at www.kiplinger.com/links/college08.
The magazine's rating combines such academic quality measurements as test scores and graduation rates with cost and financial aid data. U.Va. moved up one spot from its fourth-place ranking in 2007, trailing the universities of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Florida.
U.Va.'s four- and six-year graduation rates were the highest among the top 100 in the rankings, and the average debt load of its graduates was the lowest among the top 10. Virginia and UNC were the only institutions in the ranking to offer financial aid packages that meet 100 percent of student's demonstrated need.
Virginia ranked second among the top 100 in total cost for in-state students after financial aid. This reflects the impact of the University’s AccessUVa program, which meets 100 percent of demonstrated need for all admitted undergraduate students, provides loan-free aid packages for students from families earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line and places caps on loans for all other students.
Other Virginia schools listed in Kiplinger's top 100 include the College of William & Mary (fourth), the University of Mary Washington (14th), Virginia Tech (17th), James Madison University (22nd), George Mason University (77th) and Longwood University (91st).