The Princeton Review and USA TODAY Present "The Princeton Review's Best Value Colleges for 2012"

U-North Carolina at Chapel Hill #1 "Best Value Public College" / Williams College #1 "Best Value Private College"

Feb 07, 2012, 06:00 ET from The Princeton Review

NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Princeton Review ( today published its annual list of "Best Value Colleges" – a project the education services company launched in 2004 that identifies America's top undergraduate schools offering excellent academics, generous financial aid, and/or relatively low cost of attendance.

The 2012 list, along with detailed profiles of the schools, appears in three resources all released today. They include a new Princeton Review book, The Best Value Colleges: 2012 Edition (Random House/Princeton Review, $21.99), and dedicated areas on the Company's free website, and on USA TODAY's coverage can be found at  Users can click on an exclusive interactive map and access a database with stats and facts about each "Best Value" college plus a report on why the Princeton Review named it a "Best Value." The Princeton Review has teamed up with USA TODAY to present this resource online since 2009.

The Princeton Review 2012 "Best Value Colleges" list salutes 150 undergraduate schools: 75 public and 75 private institutions.  In each group, the Princeton Review identifies the top 10 ranking colleges. The #1 "Best Value Public College" is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while Williams College (Williamstown MA) is the #1 "Best Value Private College."  (The top 10 lists follow.)  The remaining 65 schools in each group are reported in alphabetical order.

The Princeton Review "Top 10 Best Value Public Colleges for 2012" are:

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  2. University of Virginia (Charlottesville)
  3. New College of Florida (Sarasota)
  4. State University of New York at Binghamton
  5. University of Wisconsin (Madison)
  6. College of William and Mary (Williamsburg VA)
  7. University of Florida (Gainesville)
  8. University of Georgia (Athens)
  9. University of Washington (Seattle)
  10. University of Texas at Austin

The Princeton Review "Top 10 Best Value Private Colleges for 2012" are:

  1. Williams College (Williamstown MA)
  2. Swarthmore College (Swarthmore PA)
  3. Princeton University (Princeton NJ)
  4. Harvard College (Cambridge MA)
  5. Rice University (Houston TX)
  6. Pomona College (Claremont CA)
  7. Washington University (St. Louis MO)
  8. Yale University (New Haven CT)
  9. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena)
  10. Hamilton College (Hamilton NY)

Overall, the 2012 "Best Value Colleges" list features 150 schools in 37 states and DC, with California having the most schools represented: 19.  Fifty-six colleges are new to the list. The Princeton Review also profiles 10 tuition-free schools in its book as part of its "Best Value Colleges" project this year.

Said Robert Franek, Princeton Review's SVP/Publisher and lead author of The Best Value Colleges: 2012 Edition, "We recommend these extraordinary colleges as our 'best buys' for 2012 and salute them for all they are doing to keep costs down and / or offer generous aid to applicants with financial need." Franek added, "We appreciate the deep concerns families have about affording college: among the 12,000 teen and parent respondents to our 2011 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' 86% reported financial aid would be 'very necessary' for them to pay for college."

The Princeton Review chose its "Best Value" schools based on analyses of data the company collected from an initial list of 650 institutions it identified as having excellent academics.  More than 30 data points were assessed across three primary areas: academics, cost of attendance, and financial aid.  Cost and financial aid data came from the Company's fall 2011 surveys of school administrators. Data on academics came from its fall 2010 through fall 2011 surveys of school administrators. The Princeton Review also factored in data from surveys of students attending the schools who shared assessments of their professors and their satisfaction with their financial aid awards.

The Best Value Colleges: 2012 Edition is subtitled "The 150 Best Buy Schools and What It Takes to Get In." Its school profiles report information on application requirements, average SAT and ACT score ranges of enrolled freshmen, curricula, campus culture and financial aid.  They also include Princeton Review's exclusive school ratings (scores from 60 to 99) for Academics, Financial Aid, Admissions, and Quality of Campus Life.  The profiles' "Bang for Your Buck" and "Bottom Line" sections discuss the school's financial aid patterns programs and offer Princeton Review's advice for applicants. To help students winnow their college search, the book also has a section with over 150 short lists of schools in the book by various interests and amenities.  Among them: "Schools with the largest campuses," "Schools with great business/finance programs," and "Schools with great grant programs for independent study."

The Princeton Review is also known for its annual college rankings in 62 categories ( that it reports in its book, The Best 376 Colleges, which is published in August.

The Best Value Colleges: 2012 Edition is one of nearly 150 Princeton Review books published by Random House.  Among them is Paying For College Without Going Broke, the only annual guidebook to financial aid with line-by-line instruction for completing the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE aid forms for the upcoming academic year.

The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University and it is not a magazine.

About The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review (Nasdaq: REVU) has been a pioneer and leader in helping students achieve their higher education goals for 30 years through college and graduate school test preparation and private tutoring. With more than 165 print and digital publications and a free website,, the company provides students and their parents with the resources to research, apply to, prepare for, and learn how to pay for higher education. The Princeton Review partners with schools and guidance counselors throughout the U.S. to assist in college readiness, test preparation and career planning services, helping more students pursue postsecondary education.  The company also owns and operates Penn Foster Education Group, a global leader in online education, providing career-focused degree and vocational programs in the fields of allied health, business, technology, education, and select trades through the Penn Foster High School and Penn Foster Career School ( For more information, visit


USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY's mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Today, through its newspaper, website and mobile platforms, USA TODAY connects readers and engages the national conversation. USA TODAY, the nation's number one newspaper in print circulation with an average of more than 1.8 million daily, and, an award-winning newspaper website launched in 1995, reach a combined 5.4 million readers daily. USA TODAY is a leader in mobile applications with more than ten million downloads on mobile devices. The USA TODAY brand also includes USA TODAY Education and USA TODAY Sports Weekly. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).


NOTE TO EDITORS:  Robert Franek, Princeton Review SVP/Publisher, is available for interviews. Contact: Jeanne Krier, 212-539-1350. To view a complete list of the 150 "Best Value Colleges," alpha by state/city/school or alpha by school, see "Read the Release" at


SOURCE The Princeton Review