University takes No. 1 best value
U.Va. tops University of North Carolina, Gov. praises Sullivan, BOV discusses higher education initiative
The Princeton Review recognized the University as the “Best Value Public College” in the nation in its rankings released Tuesday. The University replaced the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the top ranked school.
University spokesperson Gregor McCance took the ranking as a sign “the University has been doing things right in terms of fiscal management,” he said.
The survey evaluates schools in 30 different areas, including cost of attendance, financial aid and the average debt of graduating fourth years.
The University does not face an easy task in creating high-quality, affordable education. It must balance tightened budget constraints and the need to provide students with financial aid, quality instruction and research opportunities, McCance said. In addition, the University is often competing with better-funded private institutions, University President Teresa Sullivan said.
“We are asked to compete with private institutions all the time,” Sullivan said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily last week. “We compete with them for students, we compete with them for faculty, we compete with them for research grants.”
Gov. Bob McDonnell commended University leaders for keeping costs low, while maintaining value.
“Last year we saw the lowest average yearly tuition increases at our state colleges and universities in over a decade,” he said in a press release. “I applaud President Teresa Sullivan, Rector Helen Dragas, Vice Rector George Martin, the U.Va. Board of Visitors and the faculty and staff for their dedication to continuing to make UVa one of the nation’s premier universities.”
The governor said he plans to continue expanding Virginians’ access to a college education as outlined in his Top Jobs Act, aiming to award 100,000 more college degrees in the next 15 years.
“Our continued investments in higher education [have been] strengthened through the more than $350 million allocated to higher education in the last two General Assembly sessions,” McDonnell said.
Sullivan said last week one of her goals for the upcoming years is to increase faculty salaries to market level. Additional funding from the legislature would go a long way to making that feasible, she said. Though she did not rule out finding money elsewhere in the budget or reaching further into the University’s endowment, she said state funding would help balance the increased enrollment of undergraduates that McDonnell requested in the Top Jobs Act.