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Best Value Public Colleges 2010

Investment publication Kiplinger's puts out an annual list of the best value among public universities. The definition of value for this and other ranking systems incorporates the school's overall academic ranking, cost for both in-state and out of state students, availability of financial aid, average debt at graduation, and acceptance rate. Value doesn't simply mean the cheapest; it means the best academic institution with relatively low cost to the student.

Kiplinger's top fifteen public colleges for value:

1.University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill
2.University of Florida
3.University of Virginia
4.College of William and Mary
5.State Univ. of New York (SUNY)/Binghamton
6.University of Georgia
7.University of Washington
8.University of Maryland/College Park
9.SUNY/Geneseo
10.North Carolina State University
11.University of California (UC)/San Diego
12.New College of Florida
13.UC/Los Angeles
14.University of Wisconsin/Madison
15.Georgia Tech

The statistic for average debt upon graduation is extremely valuable, as college attendance has increasingly become a question of financial viability. The other important financial factor in this rating is financial aid for students in need, which is defined as scholarships or grants - not loans. For all but three of these schools, the average debt upon graduation is below $20,000.

A student at the University of Florida, for example, can graduate with a degree in computer science owing $15,318 and expecting an average entry level salary of $61,000. A UCLA student emerging with an economics degree will owe an average of $16,773 and expect a starting salary of $49,628.

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