UNC Again Ranked Best Value Among Public Universities

For a seventh straight year, Carolina ranks first among the best values at the top 100 U.S. public university campuses, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

The magazine’s February issue, available on newsstands Tuesday, examined data from 500 public four-year colleges and universities to identify the top 100 schools “based on outstanding academic quality plus an affordable price tag.”

Kiplinger’s listed the University of Florida second, University of Virginia third, followed by the College of William and Mary and New College of Florida. The rest of the top 10 were the State University of New York at Geneseo, University of Georgia, SUNY Binghamton, University of Washington and the University of California at Los Angeles. Other UNC system schools listed were N.C. State, 13th; Appalachian State, 27th; UNC-Wilmington, 36th; UNC-Asheville, 40th; and UNC-Greensboro, 68th.

“The Carolina Covenant and an excellent financial aid program have played a huge role in our successful record of supporting deserving students,” said Chancellor James Moeser. “The Kiplinger’s ranking confirms what our students already know: Carolina is a great choice for the very best students across the state and nation, regardless of their ability to pay.”

Moeser said the magazine’s ranking reflected the strong support the 16-campus UNC System has received for need-based financial aid from the N.C. General Assembly since five UNC campuses were among the top 68 schools in the magazine’s list.

Kiplinger’s reported that Carolina “represents a divergent trend: a commitment to meet the financial need of all qualified students and to fill that need with grants, not loans. Its program, called the Carolina Covenant, reaches out to bright high school students from low-income families. The program allows participating students to graduate debt-free.”

Kiplinger’s story also noted that the University’s total costs for North Carolinians — including tuition, fees, room, board and books — amount to less than $14,000; out-of-staters pay less than $30,000. “For their money, students enjoy world-class research facilities, a historic campus that recently underwent [renovations and new construction] and the collected wisdom of distinguished faculty members, including Oliver Smithies, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine,” the magazine reported. “Says Moeser, ‘Great faculty allows us to attract great students.’ ”

Kiplinger’s article, “Best Values in Public Colleges,” said UNC ranked first after an analysis that focused on academic quality, including the percentage of the 2006-07 freshman class scoring 600 or higher on the verbal and math components of the SAT (or 24 or higher on the ACT), admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios and four- and six-year graduation rates. Then the magazine ranked each school based on cost and financial aid. The magazine gave more weight to academic quality than costs.

Carolina consistently ranks among the national leaders in making education affordable to students. The University also meets the full need of middle-income students who apply on time, with financial aid packages made up of two-thirds grants and scholarships and one-third loans and work-study. (Aid packages at many public universities are closer to one-half loans and one-half grants.)

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