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VA Universities Among the Best

Students enjoy a beautiful day last fall on the Drill Field in front of Burruss Hall on the Virginia Tech Campus.

According to Kiplinger, Virginia’s two leading universities and the College of William and Mary deserve high accolades when it comes to offering both quality and value in education. The magazine even offered, “special Kiplinger kudos” to UVA and William and Mary for consistently maintaining their position in the top five since the magazine’s first rankings in 1998.

The magazine reported Tuesday that, among the top 100 schools in the U.S., “the University of Virginia (#3) and the College of William and Mary (#4) each draw high-scoring incoming freshmen and post the highest four-year graduation rates on our list, delivering degrees to more than 80% of their students in four years and more than 90% in six. UVA also brings its cost, after aid to students with need, to less than $6,000.”

Virginia Tech, who may not have been able to close out the year as strong as it desired in the football rankings, was also ranked by Kiplinger’s as being “among the top public colleges and universities in the nation to offer a high quality education at an affordable price.” Kiplinger ranked Virginia Tech 24th among the top 100 institutions “that combine outstanding economic value with a first-class education,” according to the publication’s editors.

Three other Virginia Schools that placed on the list were: James Madison University with a ranking of 19th; the University of Mary Washington with a ranking of 26th, and George Mason University with a ranking of 61st.

According to the magazine’s editors, private colleges cost on average $36,000 a year — a sharp difference to the public schools listed in the February issue. “Despite rising tuition costs, there are still many first-rate institutions providing outstanding academics at an affordable price,” said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s. “Schools like these on the Kiplinger 100 list prove graduates can enter the workforce with a great education — and without a huge cloud of debt.”

More than 60 percent of Virginia Tech students receive some type of financial aid and the school continues to increase its affordability for students by increasing instructional funding for student financial aid.  Additionally, Tech’s “Funds for the Future” program protects certain groups of low-income undergraduates from increases in tuition and fees, and reduces other unmet needs for low-income undergraduates. Presidential Campus Enrichment Awards also assists academically talented, low-income high school students from Virginia who demonstrate persistence.

The University of North Carolina and the University of Florida earned the top two spots on Kiplinger’s 2011 list just ahead of UVA and the College of William and Mary.

– Mark Owczarski of VT News contributed to this report.

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