With the cost of higher education in an ever-increasing spiral, it's nice to know there are some good values left, even if college bargains are thin on the ground.
Rice is ranked fourth on the list of best values in private universities. With a total annual cost of $46,321, Rice has the lowest pricetag of all of Kiplinger's top 25 universities.
Though affordability factors played a large role, Kiplinger first looks at the quality of the institutions it ranks.
"Ever met parents who dream of sending their child to a mediocre college just because it’s cheap? Neither have we," intone the editors.
So they start with factors like the student-to-faculty ratio, rankings and test scores of incoming students and how many students return after freshman year and eventually graduate. Then they look at affordability and financial aid.
With these criteria in place, Rice followed only Princeton, Yale and Caltech in the private university list. Among liberal arts colleges, which were ranked separately, Swarthmore took the top spot, followed by Pomona and Williams College.
This small, top-flight institution goes head-to-head with MIT for its science and engineering programs and with Juilliard for music. It boasts a student-faculty ratio of five to one, second only to Caltech. Rice draws — and keeps — outstanding students: 72% of this year’s freshmen ranked in the top 5% of their high school class, and 93% of students stick around to graduate. Have we mentioned the price? Tuition-free until 1965, Rice remains a relative bargain. Its total annual cost -- $46,321 -- runs $6,000 to $7,000 less than that of many of its counterparts, including Duke, Stanford and Vanderbilt. Rice knocks off more than half that amount, on average, for students who qualify for need-based aid. “We have a special, historic commitment to be an affordable university,” says [Rice president David] Leebron.