U.Va.'s Financial Aid Ranked Second in Princeton Review Guidebook, 'The Best 373 Colleges'

August 3, 2010 — AccessUVa, the University of Virginia's financial aid program, is rated as the second-best in the nation – and the best among public institutions – in the The Princeton Review's 2011 edition of its popular guidebook, "The Best 373 Colleges," published today. Last year's guidebook rated U.Va. ninth.

Only the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Mass., was rated higher.

About 15 percent of the nation's colleges and universities are profiled. The Princeton Review guidebook selects schools based on institutional data, visits to schools over the years, feedback from students attending and the opinions of its staff and 28-member National College Counselor Advisory Board, according to Robert Franek, Princeton Review's senior vice president for publishing and author of "The Best 373 Colleges."

The rankings in the 62 categories in "The Best 373 Colleges" are based entirely on surveys of 122,000 students (about 325 per campus) during the 2009-10 academic year. The 80-question survey asks students to rate and comment on their schools' academics, administration, campus life, student body and themselves. A college's appearance on a ranking list is entirely the result of a high consensus among its surveyed students about a topic compared with that of students at other schools answering the same survey on the ranking list topic.

Schools are scored on a scale of 60 to 99 in eight categories. The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges in the book academically, or from 1 to 373 in any category. U.Va. received the following ratings:

  • Academic rating: 93

  • Admissions rating: 98

  • Financial Aid rating: 94

  • Fire Safety rating: 69

  • Green rating: 92

  • Professors Interesting rating: 79 

  • Professors Accessible rating: 75

  • Quality of Life rating: 85

Introduced in 2008, the "Green rating" of a school's commitment to environmental policies, practices and education was developed in partnership with ecoAmerica, a non-profit environmental organization. 

In a related ranking, released in January and cited in "The Best 373 Colleges," The Princeton Review and USA Today gave U.Va. the top ranking among all public schools in their "Best Value Colleges" list for 2010. This the second consecutive year U.Va. has been recognized as the best value among public institutions.

The Princeton Review is known for its tutoring and classroom test preparation courses, books and college and graduate school admission services. Its corporate headquarters are in Framingham, Mass., and editorial offices are in New York City. It is not affiliated with Princeton University. 

"The Best 373 Colleges" (Random House / Princeton Review, Aug. 3, 2010, $22.99) is the 19th edition of The Princeton Review's annual "best colleges" book. The Princeton Review posts the school profiles and ranking lists in "The Best 373 Colleges" on its site at which users can read FAQs about the book, the survey, and the criteria for each of the ratings and rankings.

– by Mike Jones