How do you know if a university offers a good value?

FAFSAEveryone’s looking to get the most value for the money they spend and college tuition is no exception. Each year, the Princeton Review and other organizations rank colleges and universities that they find to offer the best value. But what does value mean? Here’s a quick snapshot of how to determine the value of colleges that you’re considering attending.

•    Know the numbers. In addition to tuition costs, you’ll also want to take into consideration costs for room and board, textbooks, as well as other fees (such as parking costs, health insurance, and registration fees).

•    Look beyond tuition prices. Low tuition prices aren’t necessarily an indicator of a good value. You’ll also want to look at how much financial aid they offer, as well as more subjective factors such as what the campus offers for student clubs, what support services are available through the university, and more

•    Think about what you’ll do with your degree. Consider the cost of education compared to the amount of income you can expect in the career that you choose to pursue once you have your degree – as well as the strength of that job market. For example, Forbes magazine has researched this topic and found that degrees in the below fields tend to be a good value.
o    Applied mathematics
o    Business
o    Education
o    Engineering
o    Physics
o    Statistics

•    Find out what current and former students think about the school. Many of these reports cover hard data such as how tough it is to be admitted to the school, as well as student opinions about topics such as their professors’ teaching ability and more. You can also find student opinions by reading the Fiske Guide to Colleges or chatting with current college students during an upcoming CollegeWeekLive virtual college fair.

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