Consumers Digest Names 75 Colleges/Universities Top Values

May 01, 2004, 01:00 ET from Consumers Digest

    SKOKIE, Ill., May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Seventy-five colleges and universities
 out of some 3,500 schools have been ranked as the top values across the United
 States by Consumers Digest Magazine. The rankings are based on several
 attributes that validate or define the institutions' academic prowess factored
 against the annual cost of tuition and room-and-board. Among 50 public
 institutions cited, Oklahoma State University ranked No. 1. Among 25 private
 institutions, Brigham Young-Hawaii took top honors.
     The rankings, published in CD's June issue, were derived from a formula
 that blended academic excellence of first-time freshman at a school
 (standardized test scores, high-school rank, grade-point average) with the
 institution's educational quality (student-to-faculty ratio, graduation rate,
 percentage of faculty holding a PhD or terminal degree). That "value-index"
 score was factored with the estimated cost of attending each school to
 determine which schools offered the most academic value per dollar.
     "Consumers Digest's mandate has always been to provide expert opinions and
 recommendations in regard to products and services important to American
 consumers," says Randy Weber, publisher, Consumers Digest. "Our examination of
 this country's higher-learning institutions should help parents and students
 find schools that will meet families' performance and financial requirements."
     Joining Oklahoma State University in the top-five Best Values for Public
 Colleges and Universities were University of Georgia at No. 2 followed by
 University of Michigan-Dearborn, Louisiana State University and University of
     Following behind Brigham Young University-Hawaii among the top-five Best
 Values for Private Colleges and Universities were Brigham Young University,
 Lane College (Jackson, Tenn.), Grove City College (Grove City, Pa.) and
 MidAmerica Nazarene University (Olathe, Kan.).
     Consumers Digest first whittled down the list of colleges and universities
 based on a minimum level of academic performance by students these
 institutions accepted. This produced a list of 125 public and 132 private
     For public schools, Consumers Digest only considered nonresident tuition
 figures, since attending a public school as a resident almost always offers
 the best value.
     Military institutions and extremely specialized colleges that do not
 charge tuition were not included. Since financial aid varies dramatically, it
 was not factored into tuition/room-and-board costs.
     "Today, the price of attending a university or college often exceeds
 $20,000 per year," says Weber. "Our analysis was done to help families make an
 informed decision that puts their hard-earned money to the best use."
     The list of CD's Top 75 College Values accompanied an article called
 "Making College More Affordable," which likewise educates families on ways to
 lower the financial outlay necessary for a college education.
     Consumers Digest, launched in 1959, is designed to inform and educate
 readers so they can buy with confidence, no matter the product or service. The
 magazine is committed to providing practical advice, factual evaluations and
 specific recommendations that lead consumers to exceptional values in today's
 complex marketplace.

SOURCE Consumers Digest