College Value List May Surprise You

College Value List May Surprise You
  • Opening Intro -

    College has always been "too expensive" for as long as many of us remember.

    No, not so expensive that forgoing college makes sense, rather the affordability factor and long term debt burden is what weighs in when students are looking for a school.


Jaw dropping annual higher education costs in excess of $40,000 and even $50,000 or more has many middle class families wondering how their sons and daughters will be able to get an education, particularly if they have the grades and background prized by Ivy League universities and boutique, private colleges.1 Fortunately, the “sticker price” on the window isn’t what most students pay. Importantly, many schools offer generous financial aid packages for eligible students, driving down the cost of private education below what many state schools charge.


College Values

Consumers Digest has surveyed more than 2,000 four-year colleges and universities in a bid to uncover the best values in higher education. Yale University ranked first among private institutions in the survey which looked at several factors besides price such as freshmen GPA, high school rank and standardized test scores. Truman State University in Missouri finished tops among public universities while Grove City College in Pennsylvania was first among private liberal-arts colleges.

“Expert opinions and solid recommendations are two of our strengths,” says Randy Weber, publisher of Consumers Digest. “And we applied well-developed standards and thorough analysis to this examination of our country’s higher-learning institutions to help parents and students find schools that will meet families’ performance and financial requirements.”

College Costs

Consumers Digest chose 100 schools among the 2,000 surveyed to create its “Top 100 College Values” list comprised of 50 public universities and 25 private institutions and 25 liberal-arts colleges. Before financial aid is considered, CD found that annual tuition is $47,156 at private colleges/universities and $26,344 at public colleges/universities.

Top 5 Values in Public Colleges and Universities

  1. Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.)
  2. University of Minnesota-Morris (Morris, Minn.)
  3. SUNY at Geneseo (Geneseo, N.Y.)
  4. Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.)
  5. California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)

Top 5 Values in Private Colleges and Universities

  1. Yale University (New Haven, Conn.)
  2. Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.)
  3. Rice University (Houston)
  4. Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.)
  5. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

Top 5 Values in Private Liberal-Arts Schools

  1. Grove City College (Grove City, Pa.)
  2. Williams College (Williamstown, Mass.)
  3. Pomona College (Claremont, Calif.)
  4. Amherst College (Amherst, Mass.)
  5. Claremont McKenna College (Claremont, Calif.)

As always, meet with your school’s financial aid department to determine college costs. Private scholarships can reduce your “sticker price” further, perhaps helping to shave tens of thousands of dollars off of the cost of higher education. You can view the complete list of “Top 100” schools by picking up a copy of the June 2011 issue of Consumers Digest.


1 Southern California Public Radio; One Year Of Public College Can Now Cost $50,000 In California; Bill Chappell; Nov. 2010

2 PR Newswire; Consumers Digest Names Top 100 College Values; May 2, 2011


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Categories: Campus News