For years, UNC-Chapel Hill has been at or near the top of affordability rankings, but the latest list by Money magazine declares N.C. State University as North Carolina’s best value.
Nationally, Money ranked NCSU 50th and UNC-CH 60th. Duke was 64th and Davidson College was 70th. The rankings are published in Money’s annual survey, 2017 Best Colleges for Your Money.
College rankings proliferate this time of year in news magazines and on websites, but they differ based on methodology. Money rated 711 universities based on 27 factors related to quality of education, affordability and alumni outcomes, including graduates’ earnings. Money calls its version “a uniquely practical analysis.”
It looked at cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, housing and food, and took into account average financial aid for students.
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UNC had a lower estimated price after grants than N.C. State, but Money gave the overall edge to NCSU based on other factors, including the percentage of students receiving financial aid and early career earnings of alumni. Based on alumni reports to PayScale.com, early career earnings averaged $52,500 for NCSU graduates, $46,800 for UNC graduates and $62,000 for Duke graduates.
UNC has a strong history of “best buy” designations. Kiplinger ranked UNC the nation’s best value in 2017 among public campuses — for the 16th time. In U.S. News & World Report’s best value schools in 2017, Duke was eighth, UNC was 12th and NCSU was 62nd.
In a news release about the Money ranking, NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson said: “NC State students gain real-world experience through research, fellowships, study-abroad programs and entrepreneurship initiatives. That experience, combined with NC State’s high academic standards, ensures that our students are well-prepared to land excellent jobs.”
Other North Carolina universities in Money’s list were: Wake Forest, 118th; UNC School of the Arts, 234th; Winston-Salem State, 319th; Montreat College, 387th; UNC Charlotte, 401st; Appalachian State, 406th; UNC Wilmington, 467th; East Carolina, 473rd; Elon, 488th; N.C. A&T State, 510th; UNC Greensboro, 514th; Western Carolina, 574th; UNC Asheville, 602nd; Guilford College, 624th; Meredith College, 637th; Johnson C. Smith, 684th; N.C. Central, 690th; High Point, 701st; and Bennett College, 709th.