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Kiplinger's Best College Values, 2018

OHMomof2OHMomof2 13236 replies247 threads Senior Member
Whee, another ranking.

Article: https://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T014-C000-S002-kiplinger-s-best-college-values-2018.html

Actual list: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-private-colleges/index.php?table=all

Methodology: https://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T014-C000-S002-how-we-rank-the-best-college-values-2018.html
1 Princeton University NJ
2 Davidson College NC
3 Swarthmore College
4 Harvard University MA
5 Duke University NC
6 Pomona College CA
7 Vanderbilt University TN
8 Rice University TX
9 Washington and Lee University VA
10 Wellesley College MA
11 Williams College MA
12 Dartmouth College NH
13 Yale University CT
14 Thomas Aquinas College CA
15 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill NC
16 Vassar College NY
17 Massachusetts Institute of Technology MA
18 California Institute of Technology CA
19 Amherst College MA
20 Stanford University CA

26 replies
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Replies to: Kiplinger's Best College Values, 2018

  • bookwormbookworm 9212 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Makes me wonder. MY son's UG was #1 when making our decision. Also, I think Stanford has a clear financial,aid guide, yet it ranks lower than their formula would seem to be.
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  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie 2474 replies0 threads Senior Member
    How to evaluate a school that gets low score for aid when you are awarded a lot of aid. Or a school that gets a high score for aid when you are awarded none. And how about if education quality is great but your particular major isn't so great. Or if education quality is not so great but your particular major is. Guess we need another list for those.
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  • HCPP20HCPP20 89 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Holy Cross #13 LAC and #25 Nationally. I like this list!
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  • TekSanTekSan 102 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Always struck by how this list was different, which is appreciated. I like value lists, but not a fan of 4-year graduation rates seen so analytically. Wish we could dive deeper and see why a school is graduating or not graduating in 4 years. For example, does it take longer than 4 years because it's hard to register for necessary classes or is it because the school promotes study abroad and internships? The difference is significant to outcomes. Interesting to see Pitzer ahead of Claremont.
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  • ordinarylivesordinarylives 3212 replies44 threads Senior Member
    And SURPRISE! It's pretty much the same as every other ranking...
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2104 replies74 threads Senior Member
    Can't complain when a listed private school is costing me $10K less a year than the in-state public school. :)
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3368 replies12 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    This list sounds pretty typical. What it has to do with 'value' I am not sure.

    STEM schools are disfavored because engineers often take 4.5-5 years to graduate
    Private schools are favored because of better FA, and because their full pay students graduate debt free and tend to come from wealthier families. More applications due to better FA also affects admission rates.
    Public schools are disfavored because they use OOS tuition instead of in-state tuition in their computations, removing their primary advantage for middle class families in the rankings.

    Basically useless.
    edited February 2018
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3587 replies9 threads Senior Member
    This is a highly recommended and helpful tool for shopping for aid. Both need aid and also merit aid.

    Forget about the rankings, since every ranking formula is going to have a particular set of biases and assumptions baked in.

    But Kiplinger has a searchable database of about 300 colleges that is very useful. If you are shopping for merit aid, you can search the 300 schools just for merit aid info. Or search/shop just for need aid.

    You could dig that data out of each school's individual CDS, but the database makes it very easy.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13236 replies247 threads Senior Member
    @TooOld4School school STEM schools are disfavored because engineers often take 4.5-5 years to graduate

    Aren't they also favored for high early-career salaries though?
    Public schools are disfavored because they use OOS tuition instead of in-state tuition in their computations.

    Fair criticism, but hard to decide which way to do it. Some formula based on % of students paying instate vs out of state might work. But that's the same problem with privates where some pay little and some pay a lot based on need-based or merit aid.

    I find the "not usual suspects" on the list interesting. Aquinas, for instance. Low sticker price?
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3368 replies12 threads Senior Member
    @OHMomof2 , they are looking at 10 year out salaries. That includes everyone with graduate & professional degrees, so I think the difference is minimal.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13236 replies247 threads Senior Member
    ^ then I find that a refreshing change. Because the early salary advantage engineers have skews most rankings the other way, IMO. @TooOld4School
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  • katliamomkatliamom 13807 replies170 threads Student Voice
    Having Princeton as #1 is like saying that a top-of-the-line Mercedes is a best value. Well DUH... but only if you WIN it....
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3368 replies12 threads Senior Member
    @OHMomof2 , unfortunately this looks more like a 'Which private colleges send their graduates to Wall Street or Silicon Valley' list.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77957 replies3488 threads Senior Member
    These $60,000 a year PLUS colleges are good values for those with financial need who get sufficient need based aid...AND whose parents can afford to pay their family contribution.

    For MANY these are not “best values” because either the family contribution is unaffordable...or the family doesn’t qualify for need based aid...and can’t afford the family contribution.

    I think the title “Best Value” is a bit disingenuous because to most it makes it sound like these are affordable colleges...and really $60,000 plus a year colleges are not affordable for everyone.
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  • tk21769tk21769 10710 replies27 threads Senior Member
    I don't know that the overall rankings make much sense from a "value" perspective, since value depends so much on your financial circumstances. However, one nice feature of the Kiplinger rankings is that you can click-sort on the the columns that most interest you. You can consider LACs, private universities, and public universities separately ... or you can compare them in one unified list. For example you can easily isolate just the LACs with the biggest average merit awards or the highest percentage of students who get them.
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  • shoot4moonshoot4moon 1102 replies178 threads Senior Member
    This is the ONLY list that I ever found that listed percentage of merit aide given and average amount. Incredibly difficult information to find, and I’ve never known why. Great tool for parents with this priority.
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  • am9799am9799 1011 replies30 threads Senior Member
    What's the 1% 25K Merit scholarship that Harvard gives?
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 27835 replies196 threads Senior Member
    This is the KipONLY list that I ever found that listed percentage of merit aide given and average amount. Incredibly difficult information to find, and I’ve never known why.

    The Common Data Set has that info. Not all colleges publish their CDS, but most do. (I'm guessing that is where Kiplinger's got the data that they used.)
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  • am9799am9799 1011 replies30 threads Senior Member
    According to Harvard's common data set, 4 students received average 33K no-need awards. What's all that about? I thought Harvard had 0% no-need like Yale, Princeton etc.
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3707 replies181 threads Senior Member
    ^It's probably something very peculiar like, direct descendants of John Harvard who live in South Dakota, or something like that.
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