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Best Value Schools Ranking Methodology

Best Value Schools (BVS) publishes college degree rankings. We believe that higher education should be both affordable and an investment of continued value for students.

Ranking the Best Value Schools for 2020

To score each program, BVS considers the cost and value of each school. The cost of education, or net price, is calculated using data provided by the National Center for Educational Statistics' (NCES) College Navigator and the NCES Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. The data provided from NCES allows BVS to calculate a degree's net price, including a program's cost of tuition and fees, textbooks, supplies, and the local cost of living.

BVS also ranks programs based on how much value a degree can provide students for the short and long-term future.

A degree's short-term value might involve factors such as:

  • Institutional and educational support
  • Financial aid and accessible legal assistance
  • Student facilities and access to technology
  • Community inclusivity, student engagement, and diversity

A degree's long-term value might include factors such as:

  • Employment opportunities
  • Prospective salaries for specific industries
  • Alumni networking

Best Value School Scoring

Best Value Schools scores each school on a scale of 1-100. In order to calculate a score, we consider the weighted categories listed below.

Undergraduate Scoring

Return on Investment (ROI) (40%)

Program Appeal (25%)

  • Graduation rate
  • Number of programs offered
  • Student-to-faculty ratio

Graduate Programs Scoring

Affordability (30%)

  • Graduate tuition and graduate fees
  • Percentage of students awarded financial aid
  • Loan default rate
  • Percentage of tuition change per year

Return on Investment (ROI) (40%)

Commitment to Graduate Ed (30%)

  • Ratio of master's degree programs offered via distance education in the latest year to the total number of master's programs
  • Ratio of master's programs to total number of programs
  • Percentage of graduate students

We Value Your Educational Future

Our goal is to provide research and support to students through the college selection process. Below are other resources BVS utilizes to collect information on degrees.

Best Value Schools' Additional Data Sources:

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