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Kiplinger's ranks College of William and Mary fourth-best value

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine has ranked the College of William and Mary the fourth-best value in higher education, according to a nationwide survey of public colleges and universities.

The rankings are part of the magazine’s survey on the “50 Best Values in Public Colleges,” and identifies public colleges and universities that “combine high-quality academics and affordable costs,” according to the report.

William and Mary has consistently ranked among the nation’s top academic values and was ranked the fourth-best bargain by Kiplinger last year. The rankings are based on data collected from more than 500 public, four-year colleges and universities. Institutions were ranked according to academic quality – such as admission rates, freshmen retention rates, student-faculty ratios, SAT scores and graduation rates, as well as total costs and available financial aid.

Other Virginia public universities that made Kiplinger’s Top 50 include the University of Virginia (third overall), the University of Mary Washington (16th), Virginia Tech (22nd) and James Madison University (27th). The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill topped the list for the fifth straight year.

The magazine’s report cited the strong academics at William and Mary as well as steps taken in recent years to make a college education more accessible through programs such as Gateway William and Mary, which enables Virginia students from lower income families to earn a college degree debt free.

“The University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary, also in Virginia, came in third and fourth in our survey and have some of the best academics on the list,” according to the magazine report. “Both Virginia schools -- as well as the UNC-Chapel Hill -- are among a growing number of public and private colleges that now meet full financial need without any loans at all for students whose families earn less than about $40,000.”

A complete list of the rankings and full report is available online at the magazine’s Web site, http://www.kiplinger.com/.