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Thursday
Oct282010

'Kiplinger's' Names Best Values in Private Colleges List 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Thursday announced its annual rankings of the best values in private institutions, listing private liberal arts colleges and universities that deliver a high-quality education at an affordable price. Swarthmore College returns to the top of the liberal-arts list after a two-year hiatus, and Princeton University heads the private university list, nudging out the California Institute of Technology, which held the title for the past four years.

The annual Kiplinger 100 rankings appear in the December 2010 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine -- on newsstands November 9. Additionally, for the first time, Kiplinger ranks an additional 100 private institutions on its website. Added online features include a closer look at the top 10 schools in each category in a slideshow, tables that can be dynamically sorted by readers according to category of interest, and the most frequently asked questions about our annual rankings.

The average cost of one year at a four-year private school has lately been about $36,000, according to the College Board, with the increase for 2010-11 a relatively modest 4.5 percent. However, the net price -- the cost after financial aid -- puts the total out-of-pocket cost, on average, closer to $22,000.

“What’s more, some of the colleges on the Kiplinger rankings offer a net price below $20,000, making some of the best institutions in the world a downright bargain,” says Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s.

Leading the private university list, Princeton was the first university, in 2001, to eliminate student loans from its financial-aid package. Instead, the school offers grants. No matter what their family income, students who qualify for aid benefit from Princeton’s no-loan policy. In this year’s entering class, families with incomes of $160,000 to $180,000 qualified for an average grant of $26,450. Since 2001, the average debt upon graduation has dropped to less than $5,000, the lowest on the Kiplinger rankings.  

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