Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10
Slide Show

Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10

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The schools in our top 100 best values in public colleges and universities continue to deliver strong academics at reasonable offerings -- in many cases by offering the same or more financial aid as in previous years.
Here are our top ten picks for the 2009-10 school year. The slide show begins with the navigation bar to the right.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 2 of 11

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 17,895
SAT: 75% scored 600 or higher on verbal/math; ACT: 82% scored 24 or higher
Student/Faculty Ratio: 14
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 75%/88%
Total In-State Cost: $15,296
Total Out-of-State Cost: $33,184
Average Debt at Graduation: $14,936

Chapel Hill, a consistent winner of Kiplinger’s top honors, maintains its lofty spot in part for its ability to attract and keep highflying students. This year, it fielded more than 23,000 applications and admitted about 7,400, giving it a competitive 32% admission rate.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 3 of 11

2. University of Florida

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 34,654
SAT: 65%; ACT: 73%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 20
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 54%/81%
Total In-State Cost: $12,863
Total Out-of-State Cost: $32,234
Average Debt at Graduation: $15,318

Low annual in-state costs and diverse academic programs are just a few reasons why this school ranks in the top of our list. On campus, students can find cutting-edge research facilities, ten libraries and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (pictured right), home of the Florida Gators.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 4 of 11

3. University of Virginia

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 15,208
SAT: 78%; ACT: 83%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 15
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 85%/93%
Total In-State Cost: $19,312
Total Out-of-State Cost: $41,312
Average Debt at Graduation: $19,016

Considered a public Ivy League school, the University of Virginia doesn't come with a top-tier price tag for in-state students with financial need. It charges them, on average, less than $5,000.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 5 of 11

4. College of William and Mary (Va.)

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,850
SAT: 84%; ACT: 83%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 11
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 84%/92%
Total In-State Cost: $20,566
Total Out-of-State Cost: $40,358
Average Debt at Graduation: $12,859

This public school, which is the second oldest college in the U.S., looks and feels like an elite Ivy League institution. It has one of the lowest student-faculty ratios on our list and one the highest percentages of students who scored 600 or higher on the verbal and math SATs.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 6 of 11

5. Binghamton University (SUNY)

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 11,821
SAT: 66%; ACT: 83%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 20
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 69%/80%
Total In-State Cost: $18,175
Total Out-of-State Cost: $26,075
Average Debt at Graduation: $14,541

Binghamton charges $26,075 a year to students who are not New York residents – only one-third more than the in-state price. The school’s large number of international students and its dual-degree programs with universities in Mexico, Russia and Turkey give the term out of state new meaning; but Binghamton's strong academics and affordable price attract interest from students across the U.S. as well.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 7 of 11

6. University of Georgia

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 25,467
SAT: 58%; ACT: 62%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 18
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 51%/80%
Total In-State Cost: $16,636
Total Out-of-State Cost: $34,846
Average Debt at Graduation: $14,343

Most in-state students qualify for the merit-based HOPE scholarship, which covers tuition and mandatory fees -- making the school a great value for Georgia residents. University of Georgia is the nation's first state-chartered university, and recently it opened the world’s first stand-alone academic school devoted specifically to the study of ecology. It also is home to Georgia's State Botanical Garden, State Museum of Art and State Museum of Natural History.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 8 of 11

7. University of Washington

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 29,397
SAT: 48%; ACT: 63%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 11
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 51%/77%
Total In-State Cost: $17,676
Total Out-of-State Cost: $34,351
Average Debt at Graduation: $16,800

One of the oldest public universities on the West Coast, this top research institution draws strong students from around the world to its Seattle-based campus, where the 11 to 1 student-faculty ratio gives them plenty of access to professors who include Nobel Prize winners and MacArthur Foundation award recipients.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 9 of 11

8. University of Maryland, College Park

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,431
SAT: 66%; ACT: 76%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 18
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 63%/82%
Total In-State Cost: $18,455
Total Out-of-State Cost: $34,392
Average Debt at Graduation: $20,091

University of Maryland, known for its engineering, journalism and computer-science programs, has risen to our top ten by keeping in-state costs virtually unchanged while improving on quality, especially in its graduation rates. Maryland also provides need-based financial aid to 50% of its students.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 10 of 11

9. SUNY Geneseo

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,451
SAT: 80%; ACT: 87%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 19
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 58%/78%
Total In-State Cost: $17,176
Total Out-of-State Cost: $25,076
Average Debt at Graduation: $18,700

Like the other State University of New York school on our list (Binghamton), SUNY Geneseo is a bargain for out-of-state students. Out-of-state costs are about $7,000 higher than in-state costs. Many public schools charge non-residents double the amount residents pay.
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Top Ten Values in Public Colleges 2009-10 | Slide 11 of 11

10. North Carolina State University

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Undergraduate Enrollment: 24,741
SAT: 36%; ACT: 56%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 16
Graduation Rate 4-yr./6-yr.: 37%/70%
Total In-State Cost: $14,390
Total Out-of-State Cost: $26,875
Average Debt at Graduation: $14,996

This large university comprises ten colleges in disciplines including textiles, design, agriculture and veterinary medicine. At $14,390, its annual in-state costs are below the average ($15,213) for four-year public institutions and second-lowest in our top ten, after the University of Florida. NC State's relatively low out-of-state sticker price, $26,875, makes it number 9 for out-of-state value.
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