In other words, the Mayans were right (can we still make that joke?)
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has named Penn State as one of the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges among all 4-year universities. Penn State, which has seen its in-state tuition more than double over the last ten years, came in at 48th in the annual rankings, up from 51 last year. Penn State also came in at 31st in the organization’s out-of-state tuition, a 16 spot jump from last year.
“I’m proud that Penn State continues to offer a quality education at an affordable price,” said President Rodney Erickson in a release. “The University’s improvement in the rankings reflects the dedication of faculty and staff in maintaining Penn State’s high academic reputation, even in the midst of lagging state appropriations. The elevated ranking in value for out-of-state students is particularly pleasing, given that shifting demographics in Pennsylvania include a decline in the population of high school graduates. Our rise in the ranks shows that the University will continue to meet challenges and excel.”
According to Kiplinger‘s, they base their rankings on tangible factors like “academic quality—including test scores and four-year graduation rates—as well as affordability.” Penn State notes “admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and the four-year graduation rate” as criteria as well.
This rating comes as a surprise, at least to me. As recently as last year, Penn State had the highest tuition and fees for in-state students among public schools at $15,250 for the 2010-2011 academic year. The Princeton Review also recently ranked Penn State as the second worst school for financial aid in the country.
Ostensibly, it seems like Penn State belongs far away from any type of list like this — no thanks to waning financial support for higher education from the current Governor. It’s truly a testament to the quality of education and the overall happiness of the student body — Penn State’s 92 percent freshman retention rate is 14 points above the national average — that Penn State was able to sniff the top 50.
To do it all without the support of the state it was designed to serve is nothing short of remarkable.