University | 9:29 pm | October 24, 2012 | By Amy Wang

Yale named best value among private universities

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Photo by Blair Seideman.

Yale is often at the top of college rankings lists for its research and academics, but recently, it’s become number one in another area: The University is now the cheapest “elite private institution” in America of its kind.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance — a monthly magazine that offers tips for money management and financial security — ranked 100 top private universities across the country in terms of financial value, taking into account total cost per year, percentage of need met with financial aid and average debt at graduation. The rankings also considered the competitiveness, graduation rates and academic support services available at each of the schools.

With a sticker price of $52,700 a year, Yale hardly seems cheap. But because of the University’s expansive need-based financial aid packages, the average cost for students receiving financial aid is actually about $13,700 — a number lower than the average cost of an education at most public in-state universities, according to the article. Additionally, out of the top 20 institutions of Kiplinger’s best value list, Yale charges the second-least.

“It’s probably not the first reason for considering or aspiring to a Yale education, but it’s compelling nonetheless — compared with other elite private institutions, the school is relatively cheap,” wrote Jane Bennett Clark, a senior editor at the magazine.

And being “relatively cheap” in today’s economy is no small feat. Yale is one of only 36 schools on the list that offers no-loan financial aid to qualifying students, a policy that was started by Princeton University in 2001. It is also one of only 11 schools on the list that keeps the average cost after need-based aid below $20,000.

On the list of best value private universities, Princeton and Harvard universities come in at third and sixth, respectively. The magazine also ranked the top 100 best value liberal arts colleges in a separate list, placing Swarthmore College at the top.

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