Value Schooling

The best BA for your buck? In Texas public colleges, Horns trump Aggies

The best BA for your buck? In Texas public colleges, Horns trump Aggies

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University of Texas at Austin ranked No. 14 on the list.
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Texas A&M ranked No. 23 Science.TAMU.edu
News_universities_University of Texas at Dallas
University of Texas at Dallas came in at No. 54
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News_universities_University of Texas at Dallas

The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas at Dallas are among three Texas schools in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2011.

UT-Austin came in at No. 14 — the highest-ranked Texas university on the list. A&M ranked No. 23 and UT-Dallas No. 54. The University of Houston didn’t make the cut.

However, UT Austin dropped to No. 27 when comparing out-of-state tuition. (The total cost per year is estimated at about $20,404 in state and $42,204 out of state.) Texas A&M dropped to No. 35 for out-of-state tuition and UT-Dallas to No. 63. This is only bad news for non-Texans who want to receive their education in the Lone Star state. Current Texas residents should be only concerned with in-state costs.

The list identified the “best BA for the buck” by considering schools’ academic excellence as well as the ability to keep in-state and out-of-state costs low when compared to other schools.

The overall message for students applying to college: Aim for schools that deliver an outstanding, affordable education in good times and bad. In-state is always a better deal, but if you're set on going elsewhere check the out-of-state tuition.

The best example is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which has ranked No. 1 on Kiplinger's in-state tuition list for 10 years and No 3. for out-of-state. Carolina's admission rate remains among the lowest and its students among the most competitive. The in-state cost, at $17,000, is not much higher than the average price ($16,140) for all public universities. Out-of-state is $35,614.

For students who qualify for need-based aid, this top-tier Tar Hell university gives an average of $7,020. (University of Virginia, Charlottesville gives the most need-based aid, allowing qualifying students around $14,955 on average.)

Not seeing your favorite school in the top 100? There’s a separate list for private colleges.

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