UCLA once again ranks in the top 10 among the nation's 100 best-value colleges and universities, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's annual survey. The campus rose to the No. 6 spot this year, after being ranked No. 9 in 2012.
The magazine said UCLA's exceptional 2013 ranking was the result of its "high four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid, a low sticker price, and overall great value." The survey looks at costs for both in-state and out-of-state students.
Also in the top 10 were UC Berkeley (No. 8) and UC San Diego (10). Five additional UC campuses ranked among the top 100: Santa Barbara (14), Irvine (16), Davis (23), Santa Cruz (54) and Riverside (92). Several California State universities also made the top 100 list. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill once again took the top spot. See the full list of the 100 best-value institutions.
Speaking of UCLA's admission rate of approximately 25 percent, Kiplinger noted that "the posh neighborhood of Westwood in Los Angeles isn't a bad place to spend four years, but you'll need to be a top student to get into UCLA." It added that while UCLA's annual in-state cost is $26,888, more than 80 percent of students qualify for financial aid, and most paid about $10,229 out-of-pocket this year.
The editors at Kiplinger's start with data on more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities and then narrow the list down based on measures of academic quality, including SAT or ACT scores, admission and retention rates, student–faculty ratios, and graduation rates. The editors then rank each school based on cost and financial aid. Academic quality carries more weight than cost.
The magazine said that despite increases in tuition at California state schools in general, the state's universities remained competitive in the national rankings because of generous financial aid and rigorous academics.