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Best Bang for Your Buck

UVA named the top value among public universities

According to “Best Value Colleges for 2009” rankings released in January by The Princeton Review and USA Today, the University of Virginia offers the best education for the money among the nation’s public universities.

“This is a list of schools that provide the best balance of a strong education and a reasonable cost of attendance,” says Princeton Review’s Ben Zelevansky. “The bottom-line cost for families is our concern here.”

The rankings Web site offered high praise: “Few schools can match University of Virginia’s potent combination of phenomenal faculty, intelligent students, remarkable intercollegiate sports, and extraordinary academics. … [UVA] exerts a tremendous effort to ensure its undergraduates have access to an affordable education.”

A critical piece of the efforts to keep the University affordable is the AccessUVa financial aid program, which meets 100 percent of students’ demonstrated financial need.

“By providing a superior education at a good price and with appropriate sources of financial aid for students from various economic circumstances, we aim to level the playing field for our nation’s young people,” says UVA President John T. Casteen III. “The current economic crisis has brought special challenges to families who are increasingly hard-pressed to pay education costs. Even as our nation’s colleges and universities face new budget shortfalls and funding reductions, it is more important than ever that we keep education affordable.”

The University’s current estimates place the total cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room, board, books/supplies and other expenses) at $20,292 for Virginians (including $7,121 in tuition) and $40,592 for non-Virginians ($27,203 tuition).

Other recent rankings

U.S. News & World Report: No. 2 public university, 16th in “Great Schools, Great Prices” category

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: No. 3 in “100 Best Values in Public Colleges”

Center for College Affordability and Productivity: No. 1 among all national public universities, based on student-satisfaction surveys and achievements

Newsweek/Kaplan’s How to Get Into College Guide: One of only four public universities in list of 25 “New Ivies”