Most times it's hard to think of the term "value" when it comes to college. The astronomical rise in higher education costs relates more to the Misery Index than to a best-buy mindset. So, what else is new? Things are tough out there. However, there are ways to chisel some costs from those money-monster bills that arrive in parents' mail boxes.

The venerable source, Kiplinger.com, has come out with their new Best Values in Public Colleges, 2012 selections. So, at least according to Kiplinger's criteria, these schools provide the best all-around mix of educational quality and overall relative low cost. If you're wondering what those evaluation criteria are, here's what they say about that:

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