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Last modified: Monday, January 4, 2010

Kiplinger's ranks IU as a 'best value,' particularly for Indiana residents

Jan. 4, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University moved into the top 30 for the first time in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's rankings of the "100 Best Values in Public Colleges." IU, which ranks 28th overall, was third among Big Ten universities.

The rankings, which recognize public colleges and universities that "deliver strong academics at affordable prices," will appear in the magazine's February issue hitting newsstands tomorrow (Jan. 5). They also are online at

According to Jane Bennett Clark, Kiplinger's senior associate editor, IU's rise in the rankings this year resulted in part from improved measures of academic quality, including scores on entrance exams and retention and graduation rates.

While IU's overall cost for in-state students rose, it was "fairly reasonable" compared to similar institutions, Clark explained. Also, in-state student costs after need-based aid was applied were less than a year ago. Clark was unaware of any schools in the rankings that had kept tuition unchanged.

The rankings are based on data that more than 500 public, four-year colleges and universities provided to Peterson's, a Nelnet company that is a leading provider of information and products for college search and selection, test preparation and financial aid. The magazine supplemented Peterson's data with its own reporting.

The article accompanying the rankings took note of the effects that the recession continues to have on public colleges and universities, including cuts in state governmental support, hits to the value of endowments and greater demand for financial aid from larger numbers of students enrolling at universities nationwide.

"Especially in this climate affordability is essential, but at the same time you want an education that is worth it," Clark said. "The schools in our rankings deliver on both of those fronts, and that's the key thing."

Roger Thompson, IU vice provost for enrollment management, said he was pleased that Kiplinger's recognized the university's efforts to keep the cost of an IU education affordable for Indiana residents, particularly when the state faces a budget crisis.

"These rankings affirm that Indiana University Bloomington is an outstanding value for students and their families," Thompson said. "While state budget cuts are creating challenges for all of public higher education, IU Bloomington continues to provide academic excellence while remaining accessible and affordable."

Kiplinger's rankings focus on large research universities such as IU as well as smaller, prestigious and sometimes more specialized colleges. Undergraduate enrollments of the ranked schools ranged from as many as 42,910 at the University of Central Florida to as few as 785 at the New College of Florida.

The only other Indiana school included in Kiplinger's report was Purdue University, which was ranked 46th overall. IU was ranked behind Big Ten peers at the University of Wisconsin (14th) and the University of Michigan (19th).