The Princeton Review Has Released Its Annual “Best Value Colleges” Book & Rankings in Seven Categories for 2019

Bentley, Bowdoin, Caltech, Georgia Tech, Harvey Mudd, Penn State and Wesleyan U Take #1 Spots on Ranking Lists

NEW YORK, January 29, 2019 / — The Princeton Review® today released the 2019 edition of The Best Value Colleges: 200 Schools with Exceptional ROI for Your Tuition Investment (Penguin Random House / Princeton Review Books, $22.99, January 29).

This annual book and its seven ranking lists (which focus on different aspects of financial aid and career preparation) is The Princeton Review’s guide for college shoppers seeking affordable, academically outstanding colleges that stand out for their success at guiding students to rewarding careers.

The Princeton Review posted the book’s ranking lists (highlights are below) today at There the education services company also posted information on its survey for this project, its methodology and its ROI (Return on Investment) ratings of the 200 colleges in the book, all accessible for free.

The Princeton Review chose the 200 schools based on a comprehensive analysis of data from its surveys of administrators at more than 650 colleges in 2017-18. Survey topics broadly covered academics, cost, financial aid, career services, graduation rates, student debt, and alumni support.

The education services company also factored in data from its surveys of students attending the colleges and surveys of alumni of the schools about their starting and mid-career salaries and job satisfaction. In all, The Princeton Review staff crunched more than 40+ data points to select the 200 schools for the book and tally its ranking lists.

Only 7% of the nation’s four-year colleges made it into this book, noted Robert Franek, its lead author and The Princeton Review’s Editor-in-Chief. We salute them for their stellar academics and generous aid awards to students based on need and/or merit. They also provide their undergrads with career services from day one plus strong networks of alumni connections.

The Best Value Colleges has profiles of the 200 featured schools, plus profiles of nine tuition-free colleges and a section recommending "Great Schools for the Highest Paying Majors” (48 majors are featured).

Ranking Highlights

On the book’s main ranking list, "Top 50 Best Value Colleges,” California Institute of Technology took the #1 spot. Johns Hopkins University (MD) was #50.

The book’s six additional ranking lists each feature 25 schools. The list categories and #1 and #25 schools on them are:

"Best Financial Aid”
#1 Bowdoin College (ME) / #25 Dartmouth College (NH)
"Best Career Placement"
#1 Harvey Mudd College (CA) / #25 The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (NY)
"Best Alumni Network"
#1 Pennsylvania State University / #25 Wofford College (SC)
"Best Schools for Internships"
#1 Bentley University (MA) / #25 Pennsylvania State University
"Best Schools for Making an Impact”
#1 Wesleyan University (CT) / #25 Creighton University (NE)
"Top 25 Best Value Colleges for Students with No Demonstrated Need”
#1 Georgia Institute of Technology / #25 Cornell University (NY)

Note: The 200 schools are not ranked hierarchically from 1 to 200.

Exceptional Facts About the Schools in The Best Value Colleges 2019 Edition

Among the 200 colleges (137 private and 63 public) in the book:

  • The average grant to students with need is $28,735.
  • The median starting salary of graduates is $59,531 and mid-career salary is $115,123.

Among the book’s 63 public colleges:

  • The average net cost of attendance (sticker price minus average grant) for in-state students receiving need-based aid is $12,972.
  • The average admission rate is 54% and 13 colleges admit over 70%.

The Princeton Review’s first Best Value Colleges book debuted in 2004. It was inspired by findings of the company's 2003 College Hopes & Worries Survey. That survey annually polls college applicants and their parents about their college “dream schools,” application experiences, concerns, and perspectives. From 2003 onward, concerns about college costs have consistently been high among the survey’s nearly 150,000 respondents.

Among the findings of the 2018 survey reported March 27, 2018: 98% of nearly 11,000 respondents said "financial aid would be necessary" for them to pay for college (65% of that cohort deemed aid “extremely necessary"). While education loan debt was a significant worry, 99% of respondents viewed college as “worth it” and a plurality considered the main benefit of a college degree to be "a potentially better job and higher income.” The 2019 survey findings will be reported in March.

The Best Value Colleges has been a Princeton Review book since 2004. From 2015 to 2018 it was titled Colleges That Pay You Back. It is one of more than 150 books developed by The Princeton Review and published by Penguin Random House. Others include The Best 384 Colleges, Paying for College, and Colleges That Create Futures.

About The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep, and college admission services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors, online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House. The Princeton Review is headquartered in New York, NY. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University. For more information, visit Follow the company on Twitter @ThePrincetonRev.

SOURCE: The Princeton Review


CONTACTS: Jeanne Krier, Krier Public Relations, 212-539-1350,, and Suzanne Podhurst, The Princeton Review, 888-347-7737 ext. 1404,

NOTE TO EDITORS: In the “Reporter Resources” area at members of the media can download a cover shot of the book and access two lists of the colleges in the book. One is alphabetical by state/city/school name. The other is alphabetical by school name. Each shows ranking lists the schools are on (if any) in the book and their ranks on those lists. Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's Editor-in-Chief, is available for interviews on this project.