January 12, 2010 — The University of Virginia is ranked No. 1 for the second year in a row among 50 "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 Princeton Review teamed with USA Today to present its list, "The Princeton Review Best Value Colleges for 2010." The rankings appeared today in USA Today and were announced this morning on NBC's "Today" show.
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.
"We're looking at a pretty diverse list of schools," David Soto, director of content development for The Princeton Review, said in USA Today. "These schools are exceptional, and they're giving their students the aid they need."
In its profile of U.Va., the editors at The Princeton Review wrote: "U.Va. exerts a tremendous effort to ensure that its undergraduates have access to an affordable education regardless of economic circumstances."
The profile noted that the goal of AccessUVa, the University's financial aid program, is to meet 100 percent of every student's need for financial aid.
"There are loan-free financial aid packages for low-income students. There are caps on need-based loans for middle-income families. By limiting debt – or eliminating it altogether, in the case of students with the most need – U.Va. ensures that you can afford to attend the university as long as you can get admitted and maintain decent grades."
The Princeton Review selected the institutions as its "Best Value" choices for 2010 based on its surveys of administrators and students at more than 650 public and private colleges and universities. The selection criteria covered more than 30 factors in three areas: academics, costs of attendance and financial aid, using the most recently reported data from each institution for its 2008-09 academic year.
Robert Franek, Princeton Review senior vice president and publisher, said money worries are a big concern of many families and students.
"However there are many first-rate institutions offering outstanding academics at a relatively low cost of attendance and/or generous financial aid, including some that may surprise applicants," he said.
The Princeton Review is an education services company known for its test-prep courses, college and graduate school admission services, books and education programs. The company is also known for its annual college, business and law school rankings reported on its Web site and in its books in several categories based on surveys it conducts of higher education institutions and of students attending the schools. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University or ETS (the organization that administers college SATs).