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 Hawaii-Manoa. 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 colleges/universities. 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