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Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Kiplinger: D.C. region awash in collegiate values

By Daniel de Vise

Many colleges in Maryland and (especially) Virginia have made this year's Kiplinger 100 list of top public collegiate values, delivering high quality at a reasonable price. Flagships in Virginia and Maryland capture three of the top five spots. (The University of North Carolina and University of Florida rank 1 and 2 in the nation.)

"Despite rising tuition costs, there are still many first-rate institutions providing outstanding academics at an affordable price," said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger's, in a release.

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Average total cost for a public university for in-state students, including living expenses, is $16,140, far less than sticker prices for private institutions.

But tuition discounting and generous need-based aid policies make some local institutions, including the University of Richmond in Virginia and Johns Hopkins in Maryland, surprisingly affordable by comparison. Kiplinger covers them in a separate list.

The public rankings are based on several measures of quality and cost, all laid out on the site.

Here's a partial list, by Kiplinger rank:

3. University of Virginia. For a total in-state cost of $20,647, you get a top Public Ivy with an admission rate of 32 percent and an 85 percent graduation rate. (The graduation rate cited here is a four-year rate, and it's lower than the more common six-year rate, which accounts for students who take longer to finish.) The average student graduates with $19,939 in debt.

4. College of William and Mary. Total in-state cost is $21,972, and the average debt at graduation totals $18,410. William and Mary's academic numbers rival U-Va.'s: Admit rate of 34 percent, graduation rate of 82 percent.

5. University of Maryland, College Park. For a total in-state cost of $19,040, you get a first-tier public flagship with a 42 percent admission rate and a 63 percent graduation rate.

19. James Madison University. Total in-state cost: $16,756. Graduation rate: 64 percent.

24. Virginia Tech. Total in-state cost: $16,828. Graduation rate: 53 percent.

26. University of Mary Washington. Total in-state cost: $16,874. Graduation rate: 69 percent.

40. St. Mary's College of Maryland. Total in-state cost: $24,880. Graduation rate: 71 percent.

60. Salisbury University (Md.). Total in-state cost: $16,586. Graduation rate: 46 percent.

61. George Mason University. Total in-state cost: $17,804. Graduation rate: 39 percent.

78. Towson University. Total in-state cost: $18,350. Graduation rate: 46 percent.

91. University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Total in-state cost: $19,991. Graduation rate: 32 percent.

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By Daniel de Vise  | January 4, 2011; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  Aid, Finance, Publics, Rankings  | Tags:  Kiplinger rankings, best maryland colleges, best virginia colleges, best-value colleges, college rankings, college rankings value, college values  
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