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Kiplinger ranks BU sixth in public school value

Binghamton University has once again ranked among the top of Kiplinger’s ranking of Best Values in Public Colleges. BU was ranked at No. 6 on a list of the top 100 public universities nationally and No. 1 in best out-of-state value for the third time in a row.

BU is one of 11 SUNY schools that made the list. SUNY has more ranked institutions than any other state.

“What this ranking says is that SUNY is a bargain,” SUNY spokesman David Belsky said. “New Yorkers have an outstanding resource right in their backyard and national publications are recognizing that quality and unsurpassed value.”

Kiplinger ranks the schools on a combination of the quality of academics and the cost of the education, and Binghamton has traditionally scored highly in both. It is ranked among the top 50 elite public universities in the nation year after year.

The magazine collects data from over 500 schools and sorts through these schools’ academic quality.

Academic quality carries nearly twice as much weight as costs under Kiplinger’s scoring system. Factors such as SAT and ACT scores, admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios and four- or six-year graduation rates are taken into consideration when assessing academic quality.

The cost of attending each school is calculated using factors such as the total cost of in-state attendance, the average cost after financial need is met, the average need that is met and the average amount of outstanding loans after graduation. The magazine then replicates this process a second time for out-of-state students.

“Our students are some of the best in the nation; our academic programs are superb, and our faculty and staff outstanding — all of which? demonstrate our commitment to excellence,” University spokeswoman Gail Glover said.

Glover continued to explain that the consistently high ranking that BU receives is a validation of the work that the University is constantly putting into bettering the education and learning environment.

“Our quality education at an excellent price, graduation rates, achievement? and retention continue to put us in fine company,” Glover said.

Binghamton University’s No. 1 ranking for out-of-state students allows the University to boast that it combines quality and low cost.

But the financial situation of public universities may affect BU’s ability to hold its top spots, as the rankings come before eminent tuition increases throughout the SUNY system. In her State of the University address last Wednesday, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher touted the rankings, but she also announced ambitions for a tuition plan that, in effect, indicated that tuition increases were inevitable.

“I ask all of you today to join me in establishing a five year tuition plan, beginning in the 2012 academic year that recognizes the reality of our tuition environment, is based upon fact and again, above all else, is fair, responsible and predictable,” Zimpher said Jan. 19 in Albany.

According to Glover, out-of-state students bring diversity and different ways of thinking to the University, which she believes is another reason why the University is so attractive to both in- and out-of-state students.

“In addition, this type of recognition gives the University more opportunities to attract talented students to join our vibrant campus community,” Glover said. “Our priority is to protect the quality of our academic programs. Reductions for our academic programs has been lower than reductions for other areas.”