Princeton Review Names U.Va. No. 1 ‘Best Value Public College’

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U.Va. leapfrogged the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as the best value among public universities in the Princeton Review rankings.

The University of Virginia offers the best value in the nation among public universities, according to a new ranking released today by Princeton Review.

The annual list identifies America’s top undergraduate colleges offering excellent academics, generous financial aid and/or a relatively low cost of attendance.

Consistently recognized for providing a world-class education at an affordable price, U.Va. this year moved past the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – last year’s No. 1 – to earn Princeton Review’s highest ranking for publics.

“The University of Virginia has earned its reputation for quality and affordability,” U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said. “The recognition is appreciated and deserved. It reflects the quality and dedication of our faculty and the success of those who manage our finances and operations.”

Sullivan said the University is proud of Princeton Review’s ranking, but cannot afford to enjoy the moment for long.

“Anyone who has been following higher education closely knows that the dynamics constantly change,” she said. “Maintaining the quality of our faculty and the high level of the education our students receive while keeping the price tag affordable to families is no easy task. But this is exactly where our priorities lie for the future. Much of our energy will continue to focus on these critical areas.”

The 2013 list, along with detailed profiles of the schools, appears in three resources, all released today.

They include a new Princeton Review book, “The Best Value Colleges: The 150 Best-Buy Schools and What It Takes to Get In,” and dedicated areas on the company’s free website, and on Users can access details about each college and sort the list by state, tuition, enrollment, average freshman grant and more.

Following U.Va. in the Princeton Review list of best value public universities are UNC-Chapel Hill, New College of Florida, the College of William & Mary and the University of California at Los Angeles. Rounding out the Top 10 are: North Carolina State University, the University of Wisconsin, State University of New York at Binghamton, the University of Michigan and the University of Georgia.

Swarthmore College tops the list of best value private colleges, followed by Harvard University, Williams College, Princeton University and Pomona College.

The Princeton Review Best Value Colleges list includes the undergraduate programs of 75 public and 75 private institutions. In each group, the Princeton Review identifies the top 10 ranking colleges. The remaining 65 schools in each group are reported in alphabetical order, unranked.

Princeton Review selects “Best Values” based on assessments that examined more than 30 data points covering academics, cost and financial aid. It chose the 150 schools from 650 colleges and universities at which it conducted institutional and student surveys for this project.

“We commend these colleges for their stellar academics and their exceptional affordability as evidenced by their general financial aid awards or their comparatively low sticker prices – or both,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher.

Students attending U.Va. in the current academic year saw the lowest increase in tuition and mandatory fees in a decade.

In addition, U.Va. continues to ensure that all students who qualify to attend academically will not be denied the chance to pursue a higher education degree because of financial hurdles. AccessUVa, the University’s nationally recognized financial aid program, offers loan-free packages for low-income students, caps on need-based loans for all other students, and includes a commitment to meet 100 percent of demonstrated need for every student.

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