University ranks as No. 3 best value

Princeton Review drops U.Va. from first to third


The Princeton Review ranked the University as the No. 3 Best Value Public University for 2014, coming in behind the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the New College of Florida.

The University‘s ranking is down from the last year’s first place, though it has consistently been selected as among the top three best value public universities.

“U.Va. has always [fared] very well in these value rankings, for good reason,” Dean of Admission Gregory Roberts said in an email. “Any time we are recognized as a value it can only help us as we seek to attract the best students from around the world.”

The annual list ranks the top 75 universities that provide high quality academics at an affordable cost through a combination of comparatively low tuition and generous financial aid.

The ranking methodology consists of 30 data points, including academic, financial aid and tuition ratings collected in 2012 and 2013 via institutional and student surveys.

Academics are evaluated based on metrics such as ability and accessibility of professors, academic selectivity, difficulty of acceptance, average SAT scores and high school GPA. The financial aid rating is derived from school-reported data and student opinions regarding aid amount and their satisfaction with award packages.

Tuition is factored into the database as the real cost students pay. Average scholarships and grants are subtracted from the sticker price of each college.

Colette Sheehy, the vice president for management and budget, said the university’s financial offices regularly collaborate to identify ways to improve processes, identify efficiencies and generate revenue, all of which help increase value for students.

Sheehy said housing facilities are a primary example of balancing customer service and quality with cost and affordability.

“This [balancing quality with affordability] is one reason we have spent the last several years replacing the Alderman Road residence halls,” Sheehy said. “In the process we saved over $70 million.”

The University conducts a “need-blind” admission policy and guarantees to meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of admitted students through AccessUVa, the University’s financial aid program, funded through a combination of donations, federal and state grants and loans, institutional resources, and private outside scholarships.

In terms of institutional funding, 18.9 percent comes from University endowment funds, while the remainder comes from tuition dollars. With a $5.17 billion endowment in 2013, the University ranked 19th among all U.S. and Canadian college endowments.

The average net return from the endowment is 11.7 percent, according to the 2013 Endowment Ranking released by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Commonfund Institute.

The University has $220,195 in endowment funds per enrolled student, which ranks third among Virginia, Maryland and D.C. colleges, according to a Washington Post analysis. The University trails only Washington and Lee University, which has $608,208 in endowment funds per student, and the University of Richmond, with $489,917 per student.

Published January 29, 2014 in FP test, News

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