UW-La Crosse has once again been named to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of 100 best values in public colleges in the country. The ranking cites the top 100 four-year schools that “combine outstanding education with economic value.”
“We are delighted to once again be included in the top 100 values in public higher education, although we’re concerned that our position has slipped this year because of dramatic cuts in state support,” says UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow.
On the 2011 list UW-L was ranked No. 43 based on cost for in-state students and No. 41 for out-of-state. In the February 2012 issue, UW-L was ranked No. 62 for in-state and No. 52 for out-of-state students. Some of the fall can be attributed to Kiplinger’s ranking criteria, which puts emphasis on factors such as “low average debt after graduation.”
“Our students are being asked to pay more of the cost of college because of declining state support and in a ranking of value that will impact you,” explains Gow. “I don’t think the quality of UW-L has changed at all. If anything we’ve improved in quality because we’ve added key faculty and staff positions, opened new major facilities and our student applicant pool is stronger than ever.”
Despite the dip, UW-L is still the top ranked UW comprehensive university. The only other Wisconsin public colleges to make the list were UW-Madison at No. 13 and UW-Eau Claire at No. 82. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earned the No. 1 spot.
An initial list of 500 public, four-year colleges is narrowed down to about 120 schools based on measures of academic quality such as ACT scores, admission and retention rates, student-to-faculty ratios and graduation rates. Then schools are ranked based on cost and financial aid.
“As states cut funding for higher education and tuition continues to climb, the word “value” becomes more significant than ever,” said Jane Bennett Clark, senior editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. “This year’s top 100 public schools deliver strong academics at reasonable prices. We applaud these institutions for tightening their belts without compromising quality.”
This fall UW-L was also on the U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 America’s Best Colleges list. UW-L ranked No. 2 among the Best Regional Universities in the Midwest.
The annual public school rankings appear in Kiplinger’s February 2012 issue and online.