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"Best Value" Colleges

Here we go again. Every year, various publications come out with their "rankings." You'll see biggest party schools, top-ranked universities and liberal arts colleges, best food (I mentioned those schools a while ago), best teachers, best grad programs, most expensive, most beautiful campuses, etc., etc. You'll even get the flip side with all those "worst" lists. Maybe someday someone will come out with best (and worst) "Best" and "Worst" list rankings. In my humble view, it's all about selling magazines and creating Web traffic. Print publications are hurting these days, so maybe eventually all these lists will be only online. Who knows?

Anyway, today's post is about Kiplinger's annual Best College Values. In these days of economic hardship here in our nation, there is a need for some kind of reasonably objective evaluation of which colleges offer families the best value for their hard-earned dollars. The big turnoff for many parents and high school students is sometimes the so-called "sticker price" of a college. That term refers to the non-discounted total of tuition, room and board, and student fees, which is lumped together under the term "annual student budget." These numbers, which do not include any financial aid relief, can be shocking.

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