1/11/2012 7:30 PM ET|
The best values in public colleges
Everybody's stretched these days, but some colleges and universities are doing better than others at wringing the most value from education dollars.
For public colleges and universities, the march out of the recession has become a long, slow slog. State appropriations for higher education have been gutted. The federal stimulus money that sustained colleges for several years is just about gone. Enrollment keeps climbing, the demand for financial aid remains high, and the average annual tuition increase is heading toward double digits.
Given these hard times in higher ed, the word value takes on special resonance. We've retooled our rankings to give more weight to criteria we consider crucial to academic value, including the percentage of students who return for sophomore year and the four-year graduation rate. Each category measures a college's ability to keep students engaged and on track for graduation. On the cost side, we continue to reward colleges with low sticker prices and abundant financial aid. But now, as student debt grows worrisome, we give bonus points to colleges that keep borrowing low.
Where does our new methodology take us? Back to where we started, with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This stellar school tops our ranking of the best values in public colleges and universities for the 11th consecutive time -- and this year it takes top honors for out-of-state value as well. From the fat years of the late 1990s through the post-2008 recession, UNC-Chapel Hill has been a leader for academic excellence, low cost and generous financial aid -- exactly the criteria by which we define value.
Other value leaders include the University of Florida (No. 2 on our list), the University of Virginia (No. 3) and the College of William & Mary (No. 4). The University of Florida and New College of Florida (No. 5) not only post prices that are less than half the average for private schools -- $38,589, according to the College Board -- but also beat the national average for public schools ($17,131), underlining the weight we give to affordability.
Cuts to higher-education funding
Carolina is no stranger to budget cuts: It has lost more than $231 million in state revenue since 2008. Several years ago, the university hired consultants Bain & Co. to help streamline operations. The resulting cuts, mostly to administrative functions, saved the university $50 million a year while keeping classroom operations intact. "I'm really proud of the work we've done to shelter undergraduate teaching," says Chancellor Holden Thorp. "We're running out of ways to do that." This year, the college increased class size, eliminated course sections and reduced faculty. In a meeting with the UNC board of governors, Tom Ross, the president of the UNC system, said, "The easy decisions are gone."
College administrators around the country are facing -- and making -- similarly tough calls, including eliminating or consolidating programs, increasing teaching loads, hiring more part-time faculty and increasing class sizes. State revenues have rebounded over the past year, says Daniel Hurley, of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. But, he says, public colleges can expect "a very long and slow climb back in terms of regaining state funding."
Truman State University, No. 23 on our list, is a liberal-arts college in Kirksville, Mo., and a fixture in our rankings for its across-the-board value. "We took a look at all our operations and asked ourselves, Does this help us accomplish our mission?" says President Troy Paino. "What didn't, we cut." The ax fell on a campus recycling center that served the whole community and a crime lab that was available to law-enforcement agencies but off-limits to students. "In a time of diminished resources, focus is critically important," says Paino. "Our focus is on students and learning."
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Try NM Tech in Socorro, NM for a science or engineering degree. I went there and my daughter did also. We both worked our way through school and obtained degrees with very little debt (me about $1000 in 1975, and she $0, I believe, in 2006). We both make professional salaries, and most of her friends that worked hard have good jobs.
The writer is a victim of years of UNC Chapel Hill self promotion and countless dollars spent on PR for the sole purpose of obtaining a high rank in these types of surveys. Grade inflation is out of control. A recent study conducted due to an academic cheating by their athletes discovered that for years "A"'s have benn handed out to 80% of all students for every class they take. Another means by which they maintain their undeserved reputation is by laying out unlimited sums for respected faculty who do not teach, all at the expense of overburdened tax payers. A liberal arts school whose grads belatedly find out there are no jobs for their degree in early 19th century french poetry, UNC-Chapel Hill has become the butt of many a joke in its own state.
In addition, 4 years ago the school sold its academic soul to establi****elf as a "big time football" school and the only tangible result was recently being cited for 9 major violations by the NCAA, players permanently banned by the NCAA, a fired football coach, fired associate head football coach, an AD who resigned, a department head who stepped down, a chancellor and board of trustees embroiled in controversy and an academic cheating scandal.
get government out of education and watch tuition rates fall.
As for those complaining about the availablility of jobs for grads, you first need to address the issue of ridiculous majors at state sponsored universities. What practical application does Women's Studies or Egyptology have in the real world? There is nothing wrong with learning about the past. Go to any Civil War reenactment and you will find most of the participants are doctors or lawyers. They understand to differentiate a hobby from a career.
Any dependency on government funding for long time is not right.
As economy goes up and down, so does the financial capability of govt.
If colleges are depending on federal dollars, they are bound to face problems.
The bad news is, they face worst economic crisis when education is very much needed
by nation to compete with the rest of the world.
Colleges must start opening their doors to outside world by
offering their classes online. This is a huge revenue earner. It will not only bring more
money to colleges to remain competitive, but also help the rest of the world progress.
Though this is happening already, it has still not hit the main stream.
-By RS Amblee
Author of "The Art of Looking into the Future: The Five Principles of Technological Evolution"
You missed the University of Puerto Rico.
The cost per credit for undergraduate students entering the 2009-2010 academic year at UPR was $49.00 (for residents).
The University of Puerto Rico was ranked among the best 35 universities in Ibero-America by SCImago ranking in 2010. The University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez is ranked 13th in Top Latin America by Webometrics.
The College of Engineering is accredit by ABET. Just one of its campuses, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, produces over 606 engineers every year; which is more than Texas A & M, Florida International University and California State University, Pomona combined.
It was chosen as the Top Engineering School for Hispanics by Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology Magazine.
During the 5-year period from 2004 to 2008, the UPR conferred 46,987 academic degrees.
In the areas of science, engineering and technology, the number of degrees conferred averages 38% per year.
UPR graduate programs continue to develop very quickly, 380 PhD's have been awarded in the last 5 years (47% in science and technology).
The UPR contributes to over 16% of all degrees awarded to Hispanics in the US in Science and Technology
In 2005-2006 the UPR School of Engineering ranked 1st in graduating chemical engineers in the US; 1st in graduating Hispanics and 2nd in graduating women.
In 2007 the American Society of Engineering Education acknowledged that the UPR's School of Engineering ranked among the 20 largest engineering programs in the US.
In 2005-2006 the UPR Río Piedras Campus ranked 4th among the top 25 institutions selected for federal support in chemical research equipment.
Research activity, measured in terms of external funds received, has grown exponentially since 1985, doubling every five years. In 2007-2008 the UPR received over $87 million for research.
Best "Public" college for it's value? West Point or any of the other Service Academies. Totally free, world class education, and a guaranteed job upon graduation. They can't be beat!
Yeah, but do you have any CLUE how hard it is to get into one of the military academies? Not sure about West Point, but I know for a fact that both the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs and the Naval Academy in Annapolis require you to have a written recommendation letter from your elected Congress representative (House or Senate), and there are only so many spots available representing each region.
Top that off with you having to have top grades, proof of leadership all through your 18 years of life like grade school Boy Scouts through High School clubs, and of course the ubiquitous "military" mentality that they size up (and root out) during your admission interview. It is extremely difficult and competitive getting into. A neighborhood friend of mine got his scholarship and blew it because he preferred chicks and parties to the USAF way of life. You also have to not be an idiot.
And someone definitely did not do much research here. I went to my local Community College, got the two year AA, and then was automatically qualified to go to a state college of my choice for the BS, which I did (UF,. the #2 here). All for about 65% of the cost of those who even went to a state college for the full four years. So there are options within public colleges and universities too.
4 University of CA locations on the list that are all above 28K per year is ridiculous. Really? How is that a "value"? For half that money you can get an outstanding education at the University of North Texas. 33k students. Funny how not a single TX University is listed. Ridiculous.
But when talking here, do try to remember that an IQ of 115 (no cheating) and above should be required for college entry, then you would get the dummies out of classes, and raise the level of the instructions, instead of lowering the standard the last 40 years. And when you come to me for interview with a degree, and I find your IQ 100, you will not be hired, those of us who are actually involved are not fooled, it takes 5 minutes to make that call, the point ---the college is not as important as you think unless you are above IQ 140 and up!!!
But they do they do make a selling job all the time, if the parents have the money!
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