February 22, 2011 — The University of Virginia is ranked No. 1 for the third year in a row among "best value" public colleges and universities, according to the Princeton Review, one of America's most widely known education services and test preparation companies. The rankings were released today.
The Princeton Review teams with USA Today to present its annual list, "The Princeton Review Best Value Colleges for 2011." The rankings also appear today in USA Today and were to be featured this morning on the "Today" show on NBC.
President Teresa A. Sullivan said that the University has a track record of providing an exceptional education for a great value,
"We are particularly pleased by this ranking because it speaks to a strong institutional commitment to making a U.Va. education affordable, no matter what a family's financial circumstances. The creation of AccessUVa, our comprehensive financial aid program, seven years ago deepened that commitment and opened our doors to students who previously thought a U.Va. education was out of their reach."
The list features 100 schools in all – 50 public and 50 private colleges and universities. The top 10 are ranked; the remaining 40 are listed alphabetically. Following U.Va. are the New College of Florida in Sarasota and the University of Florida in Gainesville. The College of William & Mary is listed at No. 7. Swarthmore College tops the list of private colleges and universities.
In January, U.Va. maintained its third-place ranking among public institutions in the annual Kiplinger "best value" list.
Robert Franek, Princeton Review senior vice president for publishing, said that, in a recent survey, 86 percent of college hopefuls and their parents responded that financial aid would be a must.
"For them and for all families seeking academically outstanding colleges that have been exceptional at meeting their students' needs for financial aid, we're pleased to have teamed up with USA Today to identify and recommend these 100 institutions as 'Best Value' colleges."
U.Va.'s profile touts the variety of academic, social and student activity offerings, its high graduation rate, and its Thomas Jefferson heritage and beautiful Grounds.
"U.Va. has a long tradition of attracting the nation’s best and brightest minds to its campus," the profile says. "U.Va. seamlessly blends the academic advantages of the Ivy League with the social life and the price tag of a large state school."
Leonard W. Sandridge, U.Va.'s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the University takes seriously its mission to provide a high-quality, affordable education. "Our board and president set high expectations," he said. "Our students come here to get the best education available, and our staff and faculty deliver the results in an efficient and effective manner. It is a powerful combination that we never take for granted."
The Princeton Review chose the schools for its list based on criteria covering academics, cost of attendance and financial aid. The methodology examined more than 30 factors using data from the company's surveys of administrators and students at 650 colleges with strong academic programs. Most of the data analyzed came from surveys conducted from fall 2009 through fall 2010: all cost and financial aid data came from fall 2010 surveys.
The USA Today article notes that the economy shuffled the "best value" list. "For example, 41 schools included last year fell off this year's list," the article says. "Six schools new to the list this year vaulted all the way into the top 10."
About The Princeton Review
With more than 165 print and digital publications and a free website, the Princeton Review provides students and their parents with resources to research, apply to, prepare for and learn how to pay for higher education. It is not affiliated with Princeton University and is not a magazine.