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Princeton Review releases list of best value public and private colleges

The Princeton Review has released one of its college rankings listing on Jan. 28, 2014 this time is was their annual best value public and private colleges. The Princeton Review list compromises 150 colleges chosen from over 2000 colleges, that were then parsed down to the best 650. The top 150 were included in the companion publication The Best Value Colleges: The 150 Best-Buy Schools and What It Takes to Get In released simultaneously. The review "covered three key factors: academics, cost of attendance, and financial aid" to create the best value list. These are so suppose to be the best colleges that give the best financial aid opportunities to their students, and students will not "go broke" paying for an education.

The cover of the Princeton Review's The Best Value Colleges: The 150 Best-Buy Schools and What It Takes to Get In, a list of 150 colleges that give the best financial aid opportunities to their students, released, Jan. 28, 2014
The Princeton Review / Random House

The "Princeton Review's Senior VP/Publisher" and author Robert Franek stated in the listing's official press release; "We salute these colleges for their outstanding academics and affordability either via their comparatively low sticker prices or generous financial aid awards to students with need-or both."

President Barack Obama and his administration is also working on its own college affordability rankings as part of the President's initiative to make college more financially accessible, and lessen the student debt load after graduation. Obama intends to factor in "average tuition, graduation rates and student debt levels" in the White House's college rankings.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama held a higher education summit on Thursday, Jan. 16, attended by more than 100 college Presidents committed to making college affordable. The President and First Lady co-hosted the event to promote access to higher education especially among low income students giving them a chance to go to and graduate college.

The President explained the point of summit; "We've got philanthropists and business leaders here; we've got leaders of innovative non-for-profits; we've got college presidents -- from state universities and historically black colleges to Ivy League universities and community colleges. More than 100 colleges and 40 organizations are announcing new commitments to help more young people not only go to, but graduate from college."

Both the President and First Lady are committed to ensuring everyone, rich or poor has the opportunity to better their lives and graduate from college; it is part of the President economic opportunity program he outlined in 2014 State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Jan. 28 and the First Lady's focus on education.

At the summit President Obama expressed; "We want to make sure more young people have the chance to earn a higher education…. More than ever, a college degree is the surest path to a stable middle-class life. We all have a stake in restoring that fundamental American idea that says it doesn't matter where you start; what matters is where you end up." While Mrs. Obama stated; "My goal specifically is to reach out directly to young people and encourage them to take charge of their futures and complete an education beyond high school."

The Princeton Review's lists are divided by both public and private colleges, with 75 colleges making each of the lists. Only the top ten colleges are listed by ranking, while the remainder is listed alphabetically.

Best Value Public Colleges

1. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
2. New College of Florida, Sarasota
3. University of Virginia, Charlottesville
4. North Carolina State University, Raleigh
5. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
6. University of California, Los Angeles
7. University of Florida, Gainesville
8. The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.
9. Truman State University, Kirksville, Mo.
10. State University of New York, Binghamton

Best Value Private Colleges

1. Williams College, Williamstown, Mass.
2. Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass.
3. Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa.
4. Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
5. Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.
6. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, N.Y.
7. Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
9. Amherst College, Amherst, Mass.
10. Pomona College, Claremont, Calif.

The Princeton Review is a private education services company. Since 2009 they have published the best value college rankings and listing in conjunction with the news publication USA TODAY, which publishes a digital database full with profiles of the colleges that made the cut. The list is celebrating its tenth anniversary, having had its first incarnation in 2004.


Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are academic & universities news, particularly history & library news.

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