IU came in at No. 39, one spot higher than last year’s ratings, on a 2013 list of Best Public College Values recently released by Kiplinger.
The new rankings also place IU fourth in value within Big Ten schools.
Kiplinger, a personal finance adviser and business forecaster, publishes the yearly ranking of the best values for public colleges.
According to Kiplinger.com, the top 100 schools are judged by many different criteria, including the number of students who return their sophomore years, the four-year graduation rate, financial aid and student debt. Each category measures a college’s ability to keep students engaged and on track for graduation.
IU was also ranked 48th among the Best Value Colleges of 2012 by the Princeton Review, a test-preparation and admissions resources organization.
The Princeton Review based its ranking on academic excellence, generous financial aid and cost of attendance.
With tuition hikes becoming the norm at universities around the nation, there are many precautions being taken at IU to make sure prices don’t go up for students.
“We do a whole lot of things,” Board of Trustees Treasurer MaryFrances McCourt said. “We look at the costs of running an institution, we benchmark administration offices, we offered an early retirement program last year that reduced the head count and we look at the health care costs. This brings the increase down and promotes healthy
Other steps that McCourt said IU is taking are a financial literacy initiative that educates students on debt and personal financial skills, especially budgeting, increasing financial aid and fundraising for scholarships, and offering awards to students who graduate in four years.
All of these factors keep the tuition rates down, but there are actions students can take as well.
“Graduating in four years is a big one,” McCourt said. “Really think about debt. There’s a lot over and above tuition costs. You need to watch the money you spend. But graduating in four years is huge.”
One professor said he was not pleased with the ranking.
“The ranking of IU is actually disappointing,” said political theory professor Aurelian Craiutu, who previously taught at Duke, Princeton and University of Northern Iowa. “The 39th place is not a good ranking, and we should not take any credit for it. For one thing, the acceptance rate is much higher at IU, which means that we admit too many students who should not be here.”
Craiutu also said IU should observe how University of Northern Carolina at Chapel Hill manages themselves, as they were ranked first on the Kiplinger’s list of overall value.
Despite this, several students agreed that IU is a value school.
“I think you’ve got to pay somewhere,” freshman journalism and English major Devonn Garrison said. “For the degree that I want, I’m okay to pay this much to go here.”
Sophomore tourism management major Nicholas Hunter-Shields said the money is worth it for the experience students get.
“I don’t think necessarily for the education, but it’s for the experience,” Hunter-Shields said. “The University wants you to get experience in your field.”
Junior biology major Jake Yager said he agreed with Kiplinger’s rating of IU as a value school.
“For me, yes,” Yager said. “I don’t have to sacrifice financially. The University stepped up and allowed me to attend. So, yes, it’s a good value.”