Virginia Tech has advanced its position among the top public colleges and universities in the nation that offer a first class educational experience at a bargain price, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.

The Kiplinger "100: Best Values in Public Colleges" list, released today, ranks Virginia Tech eighteenth among 100 institutions "that combine outstanding economic value with a first-class education," according to the publication's editors. On the 2006 list, Virginia Tech was ranked twentieth.

Kiplinger's top 100 colleges are identified from a pool of over 500 public four-year colleges and universities, and are ranked according to academic quality, cost, and financial aid opportunities. Schools that make the list traditionally work to keep costs down through a variety of creative financing initiatives, such as funds obtained from licensing fees associated with university-branded apparel and other items, and through private fundraising initiatives.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill topped Kiplinger's list for the sixth straight time, followed by the University of Florida in second place and the College of William and Mary in third. Four other Virginia institutions—University of Virginia, University of Mary Washington, James Madison University, and George Mason University—also appear on this year's list of the top 100.

Virginia Tech continues to be the lowest-cost public university in the state, and the lowest cost Virginia institution on Kiplinger's list. Of a total of 15 four-year public colleges and universities in the commonwealth, Virginia Tech still has the lowest overall cost to attend (tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board).

Tuition and fees at four-year public institutions have risen 35 percent over the past four years, according to the College Board. Yet “real values are still available,” said Fred Frailey, editor of Kiplinger’s. “The Kiplinger 100 helps students and their families determine the best match for their educational goals and financial resources.”

Record-setting enrollments in recent years, coupled with increased demands on federal and state-funded services, have increasingly made holding the line on college costs even more of a challenge. "But the immediate future looks bright," said the College Board's Sandy Baum. "The real crunch in public-college costs that existed for a couple of years has let up," she said, and thanks to a strengthened economy and growing state appropriations, "increases in tuition and fees are lower."

In order to ensure access for all who qualify, Virginia Tech launched a program to steadily increase financial aid. Beginning with the 2006-07 academic year, the university increased its level of institutional funding for financial aid provided to undergraduate students from low- to moderate-income families. An innovative financial aid program, "Funds for the Future," helps to protect these students from tuition and mandatory fee increases during their four years at the university. In addition to tuition- and fee-increase protection, qualifying students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid are considered for additional grant assistance from Virginia Tech's Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

View Kiplinger's college rankings by state or by cost, quality, or financial-aid measures or view the February 2007 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (on newsstands January 9).

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is among the top research universities in the nation. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to quality, innovation, and results through teaching, research, and outreach activities. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.

Share this story