UA, AU rank in 100 best schools list

Kiplinger's Personal Finance has named the 100 best values in public colleges, ranking four-year schools that combine outstanding education with economic value.  This year two institutions from the state of Alabama made the list; Auburn University at #63, while the University of Alabama came in at #65.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took top honors, a spot it has held consistently since Kiplinger's first analysis in 1998. The annual public school rankings appear in Kiplinger's February 2010 issue—on newsstands Tuesday, January 5th—and online now at

Web visitors will find special interactive features including a reader's choice poll, a slideshow of the top 10 schools, and data sortable by criteria such as state, tuition cost, average debt, student/faculty ratio, and admission rate. Students can share original videos from their favorite public college with fellow Kiplinger readers via Kiplinger's Facebook page. Additionally, Kiplinger's top 100 ranked private colleges and universities of 2009-10—announced in November 2009—are featured in a companion Best College Values report.

Private colleges have recently averaged almost $36,000 a year—a sharp contrast to the public schools on Kiplinger's top 100 list, in which 39 charge about the same or less than the average annual in-state sticker price of roughly $15,000. Plus, the deals aren't restricted to in-state students. At Binghamton University (SUNY), which takes the top spot in value for out-of-state students, non-New Yorkers pay $26,075 a year, only one-third more than in-state students.

"Despite widespread state government budget cuts and shrinking endowments, this year's top 100 public schools continue to deliver strong academics at reasonable prices," says Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger's. "In fact, in many cases, these institutions are offering the same or more financial aid as in previous years."

At Kiplinger's top-ranked college, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, over three-fourths of its incoming freshmen scored higher than 600 on both the verbal and math portions of their SATs, and almost all—96.5%—stay on after freshman year. This year, Chapel Hill fielded more than 23,000 applications and admitted about 7,400, giving it a competitive 32% admission rate. Besides boasting top students, an outstanding faculty and a historic campus, Chapel Hill enjoys one big advantage over many other public schools: strong state support for financial aid.

Kiplinger's Top 10 Values in Public Colleges for 2009-10:


Total In-State Costs

Total Out-of-State Costs

Avg. Debt Post- Graduation

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2. University of Florida

3. University of Virginia

4. College of William and Mary (Va.)

5. Binghamton University (SUNY)

6. University of Georgia

7. University of Washington

8. University of Maryland, College Park

9. SUNY Geneseo

10. North Carolina State University































Many of the schools in the Kiplinger 100 offer substantial financial aid. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#1), the annual in-state cost for students with financial need comes to just under $6,000. The University of Virginia (#3) and New College of Florida (#12) bestow enough need-based grant money to bring the average cost of in-state attendance to under $5,000.

The Kiplinger Rankings 11-100: 

11. University of California, San Diego

12. New College of Florida

13. University of California, Los Angeles

14. University of Wisconsin–Madison

15. Georgia Institute of Technology

16. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ.

17. Florida State University

18. University of California, Berkeley

19. University of Michigan

20. University of California, Irvine

21. James Madison University (Va.)

22. Appalachian State University (N.C.)

23. College of New Jersey

24. University of Delaware

25. University of Texas at Austin

26. Truman State University (Mo.)

27. University of North Carolina at Wilmington

28. Indiana University, Bloomington

29. University of California, Santa Barbara

30. Texas A&M University

31. Ohio State University

32. University of South Carolina

33. Clemson University (S.C.)

34. University of Connecticut

35. University of Pittsburgh

36. University of Central Florida

37. St. Mary's College of Maryland

38. University of Mary Washington (Va.)

39. Stony Brook University (SUNY)

40. Pennsylvania State Univ. at University Park

41. University of California, Davis

42. New Mexico Inst. of Mining and Tech.

43. University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

44. University of North Carolina at Asheville

45. University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

46. Purdue University (Ind.)

47. Louisiana State University

48. Rutgers, State Univ. of N.J., New Brunswick

49. Ramapo College of New Jersey

50. Cal. Polytechnic State Univ., San Luis Obispo

51. Michigan State University

52. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

53. SUNY New Paltz

54. Western Washington University

55. University of Arkansas

56. College of Charleston (S.C.)

57. University of Missouri–Columbia

58. University of Tennessee

59. Salisbury University (Md.)

60. University of South Florida

61. Univ. of North Carolina School of the Arts

62. Miami University (Ohio)

63. Auburn University (Ala.)

64. George Mason University (Va.)

65. University of Alabama

66. University of Nebraska–Lincoln

67. University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire

68. University of California, Santa Cruz

69. Colorado School of Mines

70. University at Buffalo (SUNY)

71. Iowa State Univ. of Science and Technology

72. University of Vermont

73. University of Iowa

74. University of Colorado at Boulder

75. SUNY Cortland

76. West Chester University of Pennsylvania

77. University of Oklahoma

78. North Georgia College & State Univ.

79. University of Massachusetts–Amherst

80. University of Texas at Dallas

81. SUNY Oneonta

82. Bloomsburg Univ. of Pennsylvania

83. University of New Hampshire

84. University at Albany (SUNY)

85. University of Oregon

86. University of Utah

87. SUNY Fredonia

88. Mississippi State University

89. Illinois State University

90. Georgia Southern University

91. Oklahoma State University

92. Louisiana Tech University

93. University of Maryland, Baltimore

94. Missouri Univ. of Science and Technology

95. Washington State University

96. SUNY Brockport

97. Towson University (Md.)

98. Millersville University of Pennsylvania

99. Colorado State University

100. Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

More on Ranking Methodology

Selected from a pool of more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities, schools in the Kiplinger 100 were ranked according to academic quality, including admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios and four- and six-year graduation rates, as well as on cost and financial aid. More methodology specifics—as well as sortable rankings and other interactive features—are available at:

Information Courtesy: Kiplinger's Personal Finance