The University of Virginia continued its impressive showing in national “best value” rankings by earning a top spot among the Princeton Review’s newly-formatted annual ranking of best college values in America.
In “Colleges That Pay You Back,” UVa came in as the top public university and No. 16 overall among the “Top 50 Colleges that Pay You Back”.
This year’s expanded ranking included data collected from surveys of administrators and students at 650 colleges and universities as well as surveys of alumni from those schools conducted by PayScale.com.
Awarding UVa a “return-on-education” rating of 97 (out of 100), Princeton Review editors praised the University for exerting “a tremendous effort to ensure that its undergraduates have access to an affordable education regardless of economic circumstances.”
Princeton Review also cited UVa has having the No. 8 alumni network in the nation and rated the University as No. 11 on a list of Colleges That Pay You Back (Even If You’re Not Eligible for Need-Based Financial Aid).
“This top ranking from Princeton Review stands as further confirmation that the University of Virginia offers one of the nation’s best values in higher education — an education that is both excellent and affordable,” said UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan said. “In addition, the ‘return-on-education’ data show that a UVa education is a great investment that continues to provide life-long benefits for our students.”
The top 15 schools in the overall ranking included some familiar names among private institutions: Cooper Union (#1), MIT (#2), Harvey Mudd (#3), Stanford (#4), Princeton (#5), and Cal Tech (#6)—all of which coincidently have strong science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) undergraduate programs.
After UVa, the next three top public schools on the Princeton Review list were UC Berkeley (#17), Georgia Institute of Technology (#24), and UCLA (#26).
And other Virginia schools to be included among the 200 Colleges That Pay You Back were the College of William and Mary, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, the University of Mary Washington, Hampden-Sydney College, James Madison University, and the University of Richmond.
Last month, UVa made a similarly impressive showing on Kiplinger’s Best College Values in Public Colleges for 2015, coming in second place after the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Also named in this ranking were the College of William and Mary, James Madison University, Virginia Tech, the University of Mary Washington, and Christopher Newport University.
And in the U.S. News ranking of “Best Value Schools,” UVa ranked fourth among public national universities after UNC Chapel Hill, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley.
Disclosure: Nancy Griesemer is a member of the Princeton Review National College Counselor Advisory Board, 2014-15.