20 BEST VALUE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN PUERTO RICO

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Best Value Schools - Puerto Rico
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By Iris Stone

In this ranking, we examine top value universities and colleges in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico isn’t officially a U.S. state (officially, it’s an “unincorporated U.S. territory”), but it has close ties to the mainland and is home to a number of American citizens. More than three million people live on the island, which boasts an eclectic mix of cultures, ethnicities, and languages (English and Spanish being the most popular).

Although Puerto Rico is probably best known for its tropical weather and popularity as a tourist destination, it’s also a great destination for college students. The cost of living is low while the quality of life is high – who wouldn’t be happy living in a tropical paradise? Universities on the island are numerous and include a multiplicity of public colleges, religious schools, and specialized private universities.

Tuition at almost all Puerto Rican schools is enviously affordable, and many of their academic and extracurricular resources are competitive with those on the U.S. mainland. The 20 universities listed below are particularly exemplary in this regard – the descriptions say it all!*

Methodology

Read more about the methodology we used for this article here. (Please note that PayScale.com does not offer information on Puerto Rican universities so that category was omitted from this particular article).

*While we typically use the schools’ websites as our primary source for information, most of these schools’ websites were only available in Spanish. As such, we used a combination of our own translations, web-assisted translations, and Wikipedia articles to corroborate the details we present below.

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  1. University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras
    Location

    San Juan, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Ponce, Puerto Rico is popular to world travelers for its many tourist attractions, but it also offers plenty of appeal to local residents. Perhaps most importantly, Ponce is home to the only public college in the entire southern portion of the island - the University of Puerto Rico at Ponce. The midsized campus hosts a "just right" student body of approximately 3,000 - not so big as to be overwhelming, but not so small as to be boring. And as an academic scholar at this university in Puerto Rico, you won't have much time to be bored, anyway. Challenging majors include Biomedical Sciences, Sports Medicine Technology, and Computer Information Systems, plus useful transfer programs like Land Surveying and Topography, Industrial Chemistry, and Computational Mathematics.

  2. University of Puerto Rico - Bayamon
    Location

    Bayamon, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Although the Inter American University of Puerto Rico at Ponce originated as an extension campus for another institution, it earned independent status - and a reputation as one of the best cheap colleges in Puerto Rico - in the early 1990s. The 5,000 or so students who attend the Ponce campus can choose from a respectable 25 undergraduate academic options, plus five master's degrees and an honors college for high-achieving learners. Interestingly, the university recently announced plans to pour $10 million into building a college prep school, which will significantly increase its impact and educational benefit to the surrounding community.

  3. Inter American University of Puerto Rico - Barranquitas
    Location

    Bayamon, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UPR Cayey is one of the top urban colleges in Puerto Rico and a popular choice for students in the region. The municipality of Cayey is known for its expansive mountain ranges and recent boom in economic growth, which has been marked by the arrival of top U.S. organizations like Walmart, Coca-Cola, and Proctor and Gamble. UPR Cayey has kept pace with this progress, bolstering its degree programs in the natural sciences (particularly pre-med options) while also investing in research. For example, the Environmental Education Center and the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research support the interests of the local community, while the esteemed Howard Hughes Project encourages undergrads to participate in research on campus.

  4. University of Puerto Rico-Humacao
    Location

    Humacao, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, one of nearly a dozen colleges in the UPR public system, is a career-oriented institution that mirrors the significant industrial and commercial activity in the surrounding area. Located near the largest radio telescope in the world and an immense pharmaceutical and biotechnological complex, UPR Arecibo offers practical degrees for local residents. You could major in Microbiology, Industrial Chemical Process Technology, or Industrial Organizational Psychology, for example, or opt for one of the school's excellent humanities programs, such as Latin American Studies or Elementary Education.

  5. The Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music
    Location

    San Juan, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    If size and stature is what you're after, few schools compare to the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. This Puerto Rican college, which is also known as the College of Agriculture at Mayagez (an old name) or simply "Colegio," has a 315-acre campus that is home to 12,000+ students and nearly 2,000 regular faculty. Students from all over the island attend this land-, sea-, and space-grant university, which is known for its prestigious academic programs and litany of accreditations (the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, National League for Nursing, and American Chemical Society among them). UPR Mayaguez is clearly one of the best universities in Puerto Rico, but it also earns recognition in wider circles; the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities named it #1 in the Caribbean!

  6. Universidad Central de Bayamon
    Location

    Bayamon, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    In contrast to some of the more metropolitan offerings on this list, the Inter American University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla provides a small, rural alternative for locals. The 45-acre campus provides a residence for approximately 4,300 students at a time, and the school employs enough professors to keep classes comfortably small - the student-to-faculty ratio is a seemingly large 29:1, but nearly 40% of classes have fewer than 20 students! Popular majors include Marketing, Management, Telecommunications, Nursing, Criminal Justice, and Social Work, and students in all disciplines benefit from a curriculum that underscores traditional Christian values like family, service, and "commitment to our neighbor."

  7. Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico
    Location

    Ponce, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    If you're a student who is all about results, you'll find a like-minded partner in this top university in Puerto Rico. From one-course vocational programs to certificates to full-fledged bachelor's degrees, CUSJ promotes a singular mission to be "agents of change for the socio-economic, technological and cultural development of Puerto Rico." Undergraduates can major in Criminal Justice, Computerized Accounting, Information Systems, or Nursing, or start a two-year program in Engineering. In the spirit of affordable and accessible career training, CUSJ even provides free online practice for the NCLEX, GMAT, MCAT, and other advanced standardized tests.

  8. Dewey University-Hato Rey
    Location

    San Juan, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The university of the Sacred Heart, also known as USC or simply "Sagrando" (the Spanish word for sacred) is a Catholic university known for its beautiful architecture and rich history - literally. The school sits in a Puerto Rican neighborhood that was once home to some of the most prominent families on the island, and the 33-acre campus offers priceless views of tropical forests and the Atlantic Ocean. The $7,500 annual price tag is actually one of the more expensive on the island, but this investment goes a long way in helping USC provide the very best in campus resources, including high-tech laboratories, a sports complex with tennis courts and an indoor stadium, a massive library, amphitheater - even a television studio!

  9. Universal Technology College of Puerto Rico
    Location

    Aguadilla, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Although the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla is one of several public institutions in the PR system, that doesn't make it "just another public college." Unlike some state schools, which operate essentially as smaller versions of the "flagship" university, UPR Aguadilla distinguishes itself with unique academic offerings that make it a popular destination for ambitious learners. Students whose career goals extend beyond the traditional programs available elsewhere on the island can come to this top Puerto Rican college for an innovative education in Environmental Technology, English and Multimedia Technology, Bioinformatics, Genetics, or even Computerized Information Systems (ACBSP accredited).

  10. Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Metro
    Location

    Cupey, PR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    While attending a "school of plastic arts" might not sound like the most glamorous choice for college students, it would be more accurate to look at this university as an institution for visual artists and crafters. Degree programs combine the best of traditional arts and hands-on subjects, such as Photography, Industrial Design, Sculpture, Fashion Design, Graphic Arts, and Art Education. The school's rock-bottom net price barely tops $2,000 a year and is one of the cheapest in Puerto Rico, but don't let this low figure lower your expectations of its academic quality. Students enjoy workshop-based classes with some of the best local designers and substantial studio time to refine their skills.

This concludes our ranking of best value Puerto Rico colleges and universities.

Sources:
College Navigator
Pay Scale
Wikipedia-University of Puerto Rico Ponce
Wikipedia-Inter American University of Puerto Rico at Ponce
Wikipedia-University of Puerto Rico at Cayey
Wikipedia-University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo
Wikipedia-University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Wikipedia-University of the Sacred Heart
Wikipedia-University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla
Wikipedia-School of Plastic Arts of Puerto Rico
Wikipedia-Inter American University of Puerto Rico
Wikipedia-Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico
Wikipedia-Bayamon Central University
Wikipedia-Conservatory of Music Puerto Rico
Wikipedia-University of Puerto Rico at Humacao
Wikipedia-University of Puerto Rico at Bayamon
Wikipedia-University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras

About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career as a freelance writer and researcher. She now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Her work has included articles related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and careers.

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