College of Charleston among Kiplinger’s best values in education

Charleston Regional Business Journal
January 4, 2012

The College of Charleston is among three South Carolina colleges and universities listed among the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges from Kiplinger magazine.

Kiplinger’s analysis used several factors to determine best value, including a combination of “academics and affordability.” For academics, Kiplinger looked at SAT scores, admission rates, student-faculty ratios and graduation rates. The magazine broke their rankings into two lists, according to best value for in-state tuition and for out-of-state tuition.

Clemson University ranked the highest on the out-of-state list at No. 36 in the national rankings. The University of South Carolina ranked 67th nationally, and the College of Charleston ranked 59th. For the in-state list, Clemson was No. 34, USC was 57th and the College of Charleston was 61st.

On both lists, the top-ranked best value is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kiplinger’s analysis found.

The College of Charleston had the highest graduation rate at 54% and the highest total in-state annual costs when all tuition, fees and other expenses are considered.

On the affordability side, the analysis considered, among other factors, expenses for in-state students — not just tuition — the average cost for students in financial need and the average cost without financial need, the percentage of students who borrow to pay for college, and the average debt per student after graduation.

Kiplinger’s editors said that since the recession, value has become a big part in the decisions families make about colleges in the U.S.

“The federal stimulus money that sustained colleges for several years is just about gone,” a Kiplinger editor wrote. “Enrollment keeps climbing, the demand for financial aid remains high, and the average annual tuition increase is heading toward double digits.”

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