Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11

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This year’s best 100 private universities disprove the notion that a great private-school education is unaffordable. In fact, the net average price -- the amount families pay after financial aid is applied -- is a relatively reasonable $22,000 a year, and some of the best institutions in the country, and on our list, offer a net price below $20,000.
Here are our top ten picks for best values in private universities. The slide show begins with the navigation bar to the right.

By Jane Bennett Clark
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 2 of 11

Princeton University

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Location: Princeton, N.J.
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,113
Admission Rate: 10%
SAT: 96% scored 600 or higher on verbal/98% scored 600 or higher on math
Student/Faculty Ratio: 6
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 90%/95%
Total Cost: $49,780
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $14,754
Average Debt at Graduation: $4,957

The first university to eliminate loans from its financial aid package, Princeton gets its graduates out the door with the lowest average debt of any institution in our rankings. It is the only Ivy League school with a sticker price that falls below $50,000.
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 3 of 11

Yale University

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Location: New Haven, Conn.
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,275
Admission Rate: 8%
SAT (V/M) or ACT: 97%/98%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 6
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 90%/97%
Total Cost: $50,800
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $11,530
Average Debt at Graduation: $10,717

Yale’s average need-based financial aid is the most generous among our 50 top-ranked universities. Its generous financial aid policy cuts the average cost of attendance by half and excludes loans from the equation.
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 4 of 11

California Institute of Technology

Caltech

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Location: Pasadena, Cal.
Undergraduate Enrollment: 951
Admission Rate: 15%
SAT (V/M) or ACT: 98%/100%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 3
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 81%/87%
Total Cost: $49,002
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $15,100
Average Debt at Graduation: $8,218

Set in picturesque Pasadena, Caltech boasts brainy students (almost all the incoming freshmen score more than 600 on their SATs) and the lowest student-to-faculty ratio on both our lists. Its financial aid keeps the average student debt low.
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 5 of 11

Rice University

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Location: Houston, Tex.
Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,319
Admission Rate: 22%
SAT (V/M) or ACT: 88%/93%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 5
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 83%/92%
Total Cost: $46,321
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $21,340
Average Debt at Graduation: $16,716

With the lowest sticker price of our top-25-ranked universities, along with generous need-based and merit-based aid, Rice lives up to its reputation for affordability. It boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of five to one, second only to Caltech.
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 6 of 11

Duke University

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Location: Durham, N.C.
Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,578
Admission Rate: 19%
SAT (V/M) or ACT: 92%/95%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 8
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 83%/92%
Total Cost: $53,157
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $16,581
Average Debt at Graduation: $23,059

Duke meets the full need of all students, provides a strong need-based aid award and offers substantial merit scholarships. Its Durham location is part of the renowned Research Triangle.
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 7 of 11

Harvard University

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Cambridge, Mass.
Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,655
Admission Rate: 7%
SAT (V/M) or ACT: 100%/100%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 7
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 89%/96%
Total Cost: $53,227
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $12,993
Average Debt at Graduation: $10,871

The most competitive institution on both our lists, Harvard draws top students: 100% of incoming freshmen score 600 or higher on their math and verbal SATs. Harvard’s average need-based aid package is second-highest among our top 50 universities.
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 8 of 11

University of Pennsylvania

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Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
Undergraduate Enrollment: 9,768
Admission Rate: 18%
SAT (V/M) or ACT: 94%/98%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 6
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 88%/94%
Total Cost: $53,064
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $20,004
Average Debt at Graduation: $17,787

An Ivy League institution with an urban campus, U-Penn. offers need-based financial aid to families earning as much as $190,000. Like most of its elite counterparts, Penn has replaced loans with grants in its financial aid awards.
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 9 of 11

Columbia University

Andrew Chen

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Location: New York, N.Y.
Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,766
Admission Rate: 10%
SAT (V/M) or ACT: 97%/98%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 6
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 88%/94%
Total Cost: $57,192
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $19,702
Average Debt at Graduation: $11,564

One of the country’s oldest institutions of higher education, this highly selective university offers a low student-to-faculty ratio and enables students to graduate with a low average debt.
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 10 of 11

Brown University

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Admission Rate: 11%
SAT (V/M) or ACT: 90%/93%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 9
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 86%/94%
Total Cost: $52,670
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $18,084
Average Debt at Graduation: $21,858
Brown offers substantial merit scholarships to a few students, but most of its financial aid resources go to funding generous need-based aid. Students here design their own fields of study.
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Top Ten Values in Private Universities 2010-11 | Slide 11 of 11

Dartmouth University

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Location: Hanover, N.H.
Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,196
Admission Rate: 13%
SAT (V/M) or ACT: 93%/93%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 8
Graduation Rate 4-yr./5-yr.: 85%/93%
Total Cost: $54,175
Total Cost After Average Financial Aid: $15,726
Average Debt at Graduation: $19,081

The smallest of the Ivies, Dartmouth combines a glorious mountain-view setting with top academics and a strong need-based aid package. Two-thirds of Dartmouth’s students study abroad.
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