Princeton Review ranks University 'best value' public education institution

Review says strong alumni network contributes to undergraduate, graduate success


The University was rated the best value public college by the Princeton Review in their new book released Tuesday. The University was ranked 16th in the top 50 “best value” colleges, private or public, and ranked eighth in terms of alumni network strength.

Dean of Admissions Gregory Roberts said he does not believe the new rankings will have a strong impact on the applicant pool, but recognizes that high rankings are valuable to the school.

“It’s nice for the University to be recognized as a great value — especially during a time when the cost of a college education is rising and families are concerned about not only net cost of attendance but return on investment,” he said.

Princeton Review: "Best Value" college rankings | Criar infográficos

Princeton Review has published a “Best Value Colleges” book every year from 2004-14. In 2014, the University ranked third for high value public universities. Changes in ranking criteria may have contributed to the rank improvement.

Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president of publishing, said the new book also includes ratings of the career services provided by the universities, majors chosen by students and the salaries and jobs offered after graduation.

Many applicants and parents worry that college may not be worth the costs, so the goal of this book is to show them “why college is worth it,” Franek said. The book gages future job security of institutions nationwide to provide a list of the 200 best value schools, he said.

Princeton Review sent surveys to the University alumni asking average starting salary and mid-career salary after working 10-15 years.

“[We asked if] they feel that their school contributed to where they were financially and [if they] were they happy with the jobs they ended up [in],” Franek said.

Franek said the University stood apart in the rankings in three core areas, including financial aid, merit-based scholarships and the alumni network. Currently, the University pledges to fulfill 100 percent of demonstrated need-based financial aid and offers multiple merit-based scholarships.

The University’s alumni network is also one of the most active of any school surveyed, Franek said. Both undergraduates and graduates have access to this network, which can help them find internship and job opportunities.

“That is an awesome thing to say that you can know that you can pull on a network of [alumni] throughout your lifetime,” Franek said.

University President Teresa Sullivan said the high ranking shows the true value of the University.

“This top ranking from Princeton Review stands as further confirmation that the University of Virginia offers one of the nation’s best values in higher education — an education that is both excellent and affordable,” Sullivan said.

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