UF ranks No. 3 among Kiplinger’s 2014 Best-Value Public Colleges
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For the second year running, the University of Florida is ranked No. 3 nationally and No. 1 among Florida public universities on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of 100 best values in public colleges for 2014. The ranking, released today, cites four-year schools that combine outstanding education with economic value.
UF has been among Kiplinger’s top 10 best values in public colleges since 2005, ranking No. 2 from that year until 2012.
“Parents and students nationwide continue to be concerned about rising tuition and growing student debt, and that’s understandable,” UF President Bernie Machen said. “This latest No. 3 ranking from Kiplinger’s shows that UF recognizes how important it is to offer good value, and our Preeminence Plan will only add to that tremendous return on investment.”
Kiplinger’s assesses quality according to a number of measurable standards, including the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include low sticker prices, abundant financial aid and low average debt at graduation. Many schools, including UF, have appeared on the list multiple times, a testament to the consistent value these colleges provide.
Nearly 60 percent of UF undergraduate students graduate with no student loan debt. Of those freshmen who started at UF and graduated in 2012-13 carrying debt, the average amount was $20,708, well below the national average of $26,000 for undergraduates.
Further, UF’s in-state tuition of $6,270 for a full-time undergraduate carrying a 30-credit load is considerably lower than the national average for four-year public universities of $8,893.
UF provides more than half a billion dollars annually in student financial aid. Its freshmen retention rate — the percentage of students who return for their sophomore year — is 96 percent, while its student-faculty ratio is 21 to 1. Finally, UF’s admission rate is 46.5 percent.
UF’s Preeminence Plan combines state money to hire more faculty with private fundraising dollars for faculty support, new classrooms and recreational facilities, and additional scholarships that will give a UF education even more value.
“The college landscape today is very different — tuition increases and student debt dominate the national conversation surrounding higher education,” said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “This year’s top 100 schools have made admirable strides to maintain academic integrity and standards while meeting the financial needs of their students.”
The annual public school rankings appear in Kiplinger’s February 2014 issue — on newsstands Dec. 31 — and online now at kiplinger.com/links/college. Web visitors will find special features, including a tool that lets readers sort by in-state and out-of-state cost, average debt at graduation, and admission rate; a slide show of the top ten schools; archives of previous years’ rankings, and an FAQ about the ranking methodology. In addition, Kiplinger’s top 200 private colleges and universities for 2014 — announced in October 2013 — are featured in the College Rankings special report.
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