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Last modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2008

IU jumps 21 places on Kiplinger's list of 100 Best Values in Public Colleges

Jan. 8, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University has made a strong improvement in its ranking this year by Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine of its "100 Best Values in Public College.

Rankings of what the magazine called the "the best public colleges (that) deliver a first-rate education without breaking the bank" appear in its February issue. IU Bloomington improved by 21 positions to 34th overall and fourth among Big Ten schools.

Kiplinger's rankings focus on both large research universities such as IU, as well as smaller, prestigious and sometimes more specialized colleges. Enrollments of the schools ranked ranged from as many as 41,815 at Arizona State University to as few as 746 at the New College of Florida.

Jane Bennett Clark, Kiplinger's senior associate editor, explained that IU's dramatic rise was "thanks in part to improved test scores for incoming freshmen, more generous financial aid and a lower average debt at graduation."

"We have undertaken a number of aggressive efforts to improve both quality and affordability at our Bloomington campus, and I am pleased to see that these efforts are being nationally recognized," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said of the report.

IU recently has designed several grant programs that supplement state and federal grants, such as Pell grants and awards from the State Student Assistance Commission. For instance, incoming freshmen who qualify for Pell grants and have at least an 1150 combined SAT score will be reimbursed for the full cost of tuition.

"Our goal is to eliminate financial obstacles that might discourage otherwise well-qualified Indiana high school students from considering attending IU," McRobbie added. "We have made significant progress on that front. As this has become known, we have attracted many more applications from top-notch students, and that is forcing us to become more selective in the admissions process. What Indiana high school students who want to attend IU need to know is that the real challenge facing them is not financial, but rather how well they perform in their studies."

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. Its measures of academic quality included the percentage of the 2006-07 freshman class scoring 600 or higher on the verbal and math components of the SAT, admission rates, freshman retention rates, student-faculty ratios and graduation rates.

The only other Indiana school included in Kiplinger's report was Purdue University, which was ranked 47th overall.