Top Colleges Are Not Just For The Rich

Wednesday, January 28, 2009, AM | Leave Comment

A new report called “Best Value Colleges for 2009,” issued Thursday by The Princeton Review and USA TODAY, spotlights 50 public and 50 private colleges and universities. These colleges do an exceptional job of helping qualifying students to pay for their higher education. Like President Obama’s campaign, they are inclusive – not exclusive any more.

This year, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville was named the No. 1 “Best Value Public College,” and Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa., ranked as the No. 1 “Best Value Private College.”

Both schools consistently meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of their students – a trait shared by a number of schools featured in this year’s report. 100% means you pay zero, zilch, nada.

best-368-collegesThe report’s authors stress that even in this dark economic climate, an abundance of free financial aid can be snatched up by college-bound students and parents who know how to play the game and ask the right questions.

They are not talking about student loans that can saddle students with crushing debt loads for years to come; they are talking about scholarships and grants that never have to be repaid.

“Don’t make the tragic mistake of crossing a school off your list because you’re intimidated by its sticker price,” said Rob Franek, vice president and publisher of the Princeton Review.

Costs of some colleges
Franek highlighted a few examples from the report to show that those scary-looking sticker prices are not always as bad as they seem.

In the following comparison, the cost for a single year of college includes tuition, room and board.

  • Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass – private
    Cost = $47,100
    Grant = $35,000
    You pay = $12,100.
  • Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. – private
    Cost = $45,600
    Grant = $31,600
    You pay = $14,000
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va – public
    Cost = $16,300
    Grant = $16,300
    You pay = $0

Top 10 Best Value Private Colleges
The Princeton Review’s top 10 “Best Value Private Colleges for 2009” are:

  1. Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa.
  2. Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass.
  3. Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.
  4. Rice University, Houston, Texas
  5. Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
  6. Williams College, Williamstown, Mass.
  7. Amherst College, Amherst, Mass.
  8. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
  9. Pomona College, Claremont, Calif.
  10. Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

Top 10 Best Value Public Colleges
The Princeton Review’s top 10 “Best Value Public Colleges for 2009” are:

  1. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
  2. New College of Florida, Sarasota, Fla.
  3. College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.
  4. State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, N.Y.
  5. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
  6. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.
  7. University of California – San Diego
  8. City University of New York – Hunter College, New York City
  9. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
  10. The College of New Jersey, Ewing, N.J.

Moral of the story
Read the book and find your college among the 368 public and private colleges.

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