Rice University is No. 3 on the list of best values among private universities published Oct. 17 by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.
Yale and Princeton top the 2014 rankings, which measure academic quality and affordability, and right behind Rice are Harvard and Duke to fill out the top five. Rice has consistently ranked among Kiplinger’s top five best-value schools.
“Rice’s sticker price continues to be the lowest among our top 20 private universities, and its need-based aid reduces the cost for students who qualify to less than $21,000,” Kiplinger reported. “Unlike many top-tier institutions, Rice also awards merit aid to a significant percentage of students, at an average of $12,000.”
Kiplinger’s academic criteria include the student admission rate (the number of students accepted out of those who apply), the test scores of incoming freshmen, the ratio of students to faculty members and the four- and five-year graduation rates. Affordability factors include the sticker price, the availability and average amount of need-based and merit-based financial aid and the average student debt at graduation.
Rice admits students regardless of their ability to pay and provides financial aid packages that meet 100 percent of their demonstrated need. Freshmen who qualify for need-based aid and whose family annual income is $80,000 or less are not required to take out loans to pay for their education. And Rice has a $10,000 limit on required loans in financial aid packages for other need-eligible incoming freshmen for their four undergraduate years.
According to Kiplinger, the colleges on its best-value list “provide high-quality academics at a reasonable cost during these continued tough economic times. The colleges exemplify the attributes parents and students look for in higher education, including small class sizes, a good freshman retention rate and a high four-year graduation rate.”
Kiplinger noted that Rice’s six-to-one undergraduate student-faculty ratio is among the lowest for both liberal arts colleges and private universities. “Students clearly enjoy their experience at Rice: 96 percent of freshmen return for sophomore year,” Kiplinger reported.
The rankings were compiled from data on nearly 600 private universities. For more on the rankings, including a list of the 100 best-value schools, visit at www.kiplinger.com/links/college.