Kiplinger’s ranks UF No. 2 best value among nation’s top public universities

December 17, 2015
Steve Orlando

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has ranked the University of Florida second among the nation’s top public universities and first in Florida on its 2016 list of best college values.

Other universities in the top five include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan.

On Kiplinger’s 2016 top 100 best values combining publics and privates, UF was ranked 52nd.

“I am pleased that UF is ranked No. 2 among the nation’s best public universities,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “This is a result of our unique combination of quality and affordability.”

UF has been among Kiplinger’s top 10 best values in public colleges since 2005, ranking No. 2 from that year until 2012.

UF’s in-state tuition of $6,310 for a full-time undergraduate carrying a 30-credit load is considerably lower than the national average for four-year public universities of $9,410. In addition, 56 percent of UF undergraduate students graduate with no student loan debt. The average student loan debt load for UF undergraduates who graduated in 2014-15 is $21,028. For comparison, the national average for 2014 graduates of four-year public institutions was $28,950.

Kiplinger assesses value by measurable standards of academic quality and affordability. Quality measures include the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include sticker price, financial aid and average debt at graduation. Many schools have appeared on the list multiple times, a testament to the consistent value these colleges provide.

“We start with a universe of 1,200 schools, so each school on our rankings, from number 1 to number 300, is a best value,” said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Financemagazine. “Families can use the list as a starting point and then tailor it to each student’s preference for such things as size, location, campus culture and major.”

The complete rankings are now available online at Kiplinger.com/links/college and will appear in print in the February 2016 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands Jan. 5.

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