January 3, 2012
In the latest college rankings released today by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, UNC Asheville is ranked among the top 50 best values in public colleges in the nation. Beginning with a pool of more than 500 public colleges and universities, Kiplinger's selected the top 100 based on a combination of best academic quality and value. UNC Asheville, which ranks 45th, has regularly made the list for the past decade.
"Kiplinger's Best Values in Public Colleges" was published online today and will appear in the February print edition of Kiplinger's.
Among the 100 colleges, UNC Asheville has the fifth lowest total cost of attending per year, and UNC Asheville students graduate with the eighth lowest average debt. UNC Asheville in-state students pay $5,393 in tuition and required fees, the lowest rate among the university's public campus peer group.
Kiplinger's retooled its rankings methodology this year, noting the recession’s impact upon public colleges – cuts in state funding, the end of federal stimulus money, and students’ increased need for financial aid. This year’s study gives more weight to colleges’ ability to keep students engaged and on-track for graduation, and rewards colleges that keep student costs and debt loads low.
Academic quality continues to carry more weight than costs in the Kiplinger rankings. Factors considered include test scores of incoming students, admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, and four- and six-year graduation rates.
UNC Chapel Hill was ranked first by Kiplinger’s. Others in the UNC system that made the top 50 were UNC Wilmington, North Carolina State University, Appalachian State University, and North Carolina School of the Arts. The complete list is online.
UNC Asheville was recognized earlier in the academic year for both its excellence and affordability. UNC Asheville was ranked eighth in the nation among Public Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News & World Report in its "America's Best Colleges" study. Among its measures was affordability, as indicated by student debt. UNC Asheville ranked 22nd among 252 private and public national liberal arts colleges for least debt among students graduating in 2010.
The "Fiske Guide to Colleges," described UNC Asheville as "one of the best educational bargains in the country," and for the eight consecutive year, recognized the university’s Environmental Studies Program for unusual strength in preparing students for careers. The university was also among just 50 institutions nationwide named to the Princeton Review's "Best Values" public college list, and was called one of America’s “10 Best Colleges for the Money” by Bankrate.com.