UMass named to Princeton Review’s list of top 200 best-value schools

By Jacqueline Hayes

(Samantha Halm/ Daily Collegian)
(Samantha Halm/ Daily Collegian)

The Princeton Review acknowledged the University of Massachusetts in its Feb. 2 list of the top 200 schools that offer students the best value for their tuition dollars. Over 650 schools were considered before the top 200 were decided upon, according to the Princeton Review’s explanation of the methodology.

The three key features in which most greatly influenced a spot on the list were: affordable cost of attendance, strong career prospects after graduation and exceptional academics, according to the release.

More than 40 different data points were weighted in the process of the rankings. Data was collected from career/alumni statistics, student surveys and PayScale.com, according to the methodology explanation. The return on investment aspect of the ranking was influenced by starting and mid-career salaries, as well as careers with a social impact, according to the Princeton Review.

Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s senior publisher and vice president, as well as head writer for “Colleges That Pay You Back” said that the schools on this list “offer outstanding academics and generous financial aid to students … students also have access to extraordinary career services programs and a lifetime of alumni connections and post-grad support,” according to the Princeton Review’s press release.

The sticker price of UMass for an in-state student was $25,674 total per year, including tuition, average room rate, and the cost of a 14 meal per week plan. The total cost for out-of-state and international students was $42,007 per year, according to the Office of Institutional Research’s “UMass at a Glance” 2015-2016. Both estimates do not take into account the average financial aid packages and merit scholarships awarded to many students each year.

The average need-based loan amount for UMass undergraduates was $4,642 and an average total undergraduate need-based gift aid was $9,653, according to the Princeton Review’s profile of UMass. Seventy-one percent of UMass students have borrowed funds through a loan program for school expenses, according to the profile.

This is not the first time Princeton Review has recognized the University; UMass was ranked second for best campus food for 2015 and ranked No. 21 out of the top 50 “green colleges” in 2015. On top of having a selectivity rating of 89, and a return on investment rating of 87, UMass lays claim to 23 total Division I sports teams with a green rating of 98, according to the profile.

“Even though I am from New York, people still know UMass,” said Christina Dicosimo, a freshman biology major. “It’s a recognizable name with a great reputation. Even in large lectures, I feel that between the professors and TAs, everyone has a chance to engage and learn a lot.”

Sophomore public health major Georgia Healy added: “We have an incredible dining hall, we’re going to the flagship campus of one of the most educated states in the country, and we have numerous resources on campus that come with your tuition. There are so many clubs and activities to get involved in that there is really something for everyone here.”

Jacqueline Hayes can be reached at [email protected]