The Princeton Review Has Released Its Annual “Best Value Colleges” List and Rankings for 2020

Princeton Univ. Named #1 "Best Value College" Overall / Colleges Earning #1 Spots on the Project's Other Ranking Lists Include Harvey Mudd, Vassar, Wabash, and Wesleyan Univ. 

NEW YORK, February 4, 2020, 8 AM (EST) / — The Princeton Review® today reported its list of the 200 Best Value Colleges for 2020. The project annually names the undergraduate institutions the education services company recommends as offering the best ROI (Return on Investment). The Princeton Review staff crunched more than 40 data points to select the schools for the list and tally the project's seven categories of ranking lists (highlights follow).

The Princeton Review posted its Best Value Colleges list, seven ranking lists, and profiles of the 200 schools (plus profiles of nine tuition-free schools) at https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings/best-value-colleges where the information is accessible for free with site registration.

The company chose the 200 schools based on its surveys of administrators at 656 colleges in 2018–19. Survey topics covered academics, cost, financial aid, career services, graduation rates, student debt, and alumni support. The Princeton Review also factored in data from its surveys of students attending the colleges, as well as PayScale.com surveys of alumni of the schools about their starting and mid-career salaries and job satisfaction. Information on the Best Value Colleges project methodology and the basis for each ranking list is accessible at https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings/best-value-colleges/methodology.

“The schools we chose as our Best Value Colleges for 2020 comprise only 7% of the nation's four-year colleges," noted Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's editor-in-chief. "They are truly distinctive and diverse in their programs, size, region, and type, yet they are similar in three areas. Every school we selected offers outstanding academics, generous financial aid and/or relative low cost of attendance, and stellar career services. We recommend them highly to college applicants and parents seeking schools that are academically top-notch and committed to making their programs affordable. These colleges are also standouts at guiding their students to rewarding futures."

The Princeton Review also today released its companion book for this project. Featuring in-depth profiles of the 75 top-rated schools, The Best Value Colleges: 75 Schools That Give You the Most for Your Money (Penguin Random House, 13th Edition, $12.99, February 4) is authored by Robert Franek and the staff of The Princeton Review.

Ranking Highlights

On the project's main ranking list, "Top 75 Best Value Colleges," which is based solely on ROI ratings tallied by The Princeton Review, Princeton University (NJ) earned the #1 spot. For admitted students that qualify for financial aid, the University meets 100% of each student's need with scholarship grants—not loans. The average scholarship grant Princeton University awarded to undergrads with need last year was $51,365.

Six additional ranking lists, all based on survey data, name the top 25 schools in other categories. The categories and #1 schools on the lists are:

  • Best Schools for Financial Aid — Vassar College (NY)
  • Best Career Placement — Harvey Mudd College (CA)
  • Best Schools for Internships — Wabash College (IN)
  • Best Schools for Making an Impact— Wesleyan University (CT)
  • Best Alumni Networks — Wabash College (IN)
  • Best Value Colleges for Students with No Demonstrated Need — Harvey Mudd College (CA)

Note: The Princeton Review does not rank the 200 schools hierarchically from 1 to 200.

Six Fascinating Facts About The Princeton Review's Best Value Colleges for 2020:

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

  • The average grant to students with need is $29,748.
  • The median starting salary of graduates is $60,824.
  • The mid-career salary of graduates is $117,583.

Among the 63 public colleges:

  • The average net cost of attendance (sticker price minus average grant) for in-state students receiving need-based aid is $12,944.
  • The average admission rate is 53%.
  • 14 of the colleges admit over 70% of their applicants.

The first edition of The Princeton Review's Best Value Colleges book, published in 2004, was inspired by findings of the company's 2003 College Hopes & Worries Survey, a project that annually polls college applicants and their parents about their application perspectives and concerns. In the 17 years that The Princeton Review has conducted the survey, respondents have expressed concerns about college costs at levels that have risen year after year. Among the findings of the 2019 survey reported March 6, 2019: 88% of the 11,900 respondents said financial aid would be "very" or “extremely" necessary to pay for college—a substantial increase from the 78% of respondents who indicated such levels of need in 2007. Findings of the 2020 survey will be reported in March.

The Best Value Colleges is one of more than 150 books developed by The Princeton Review and published by Penguin Random House. Others that are resources on this topic include The Best 385 CollegesColleges That Create Futures, 8 Steps to Paying Less for College, and Paying for College.

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. Its Tutor.com brand is the largest online tutoring service in the U.S. It comprises a community of thousands of tutors who have delivered more than 18 million one-to-one tutoring sessions. The Princeton Review is headquartered in New York, NY. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University. For more information, visit PrincetonReview.com. Follow the company on Twitter @ThePrincetonRev and Instagram @theprincetonreview.

SOURCE: The Princeton Review

WEBSITE: www.princetonreview.com

CONTACTS: Jeanne Krier, Publicist for The Princeton Review, pressoffice@review.com, or Suzanne Podhurst, Director of Communications and Social Media, The Princeton Review, suzanne.podhurst@review.com.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Members of the media can access two lists of the Best Value Colleges for the 2020 in the Reporter Resources area at https://www.princetonreview.com/press/best-value-colleges/reporter-resources. One list is alphabetical by state/city/school name. The other is alphabetical by school name. Each list shows ranking lists the schools are on (if any) and their ranks on those lists. Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's editor-in-chief, is available for interviews on the project, comment on the schools, and findings of the company surveys of administrators, students and parents on college topics.