UMass Amherst Named a ‘Best Value’ Public College by <i>Kiplinger's Personal Finance</i>

AMHERST, Mass. - For the third consecutive year, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is among the "100 Best Values in Public Colleges" compiled by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. The 2011-12 ranking cites four-year schools that combine outstanding education with economic value.

The magazine’s latest rankings, released today, rate UMass Amherst as the 55th best value for out-of-state students. For Massachusetts residents, UMass Amherst is 70th in terms of overall value. Last year, the school was ranked the 59th best value for out-of-state residents and 83rd for in-state students.

To develop the rankings, Kiplinger’s uses data from more than 500 public, four-year schools and weighs academic quality, cost and financial aid to develop its 100 top value list.

The academic quality calculation considers SAT or ACT scores, admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, and four- and six-year graduation rates, which most schools reported for the class that entered in 2004. This year, Kiplinger’s revamped the rankings to give more weight to academic value, such as the percentage of students who return for their sophomore year and the four-year graduation rate.

To assess costs, the magazine weighs the total expenses for in-state students, including tuition, mandatory fees, room, board and books; the average cost for a student with need after subtracting grants but not loans; the average cost for a student without need after subtracting non-need-based grants; the average percentage of need met by aid; the percentage of students who borrow; and the average debt per student borrower at graduation.

Out-of-state rankings are based on academic quality, total costs for out-of-state residents and average costs after financial aid.