Only Kentucky public to be tagged a “Best Bang for the Buck” school

Washington Monthly Best CollegesLooking for a college with more bang for the buck? According to the 2014 Washington Monthly college guide and rankings released on Monday, Murray State University offers just that. MSU took its place at 17th in the “Best Bang for the Buck” category among all schools.

The rankings by Washington Monthly also were broken down into five sections — national universities, liberal arts colleges, master’s universities, baccalaureate colleges and affordable elite colleges. Murray State came in at 9th place on the “Master’s Universities” list of “Best Bang for the Buck” schools.

Murray was the only public college in Kentucky to be recognized on the “Best Bang for the Buck” list.

“This ranking speaks to our university mission that exemplifies our commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience at a tuition level, along with scholarships, that is affordable,” noted Dr. Bob Davies, Murray State University president. “Murray State offers a great value based on our excellent academic reputation, enabling a Murray State graduate to compete in the job market or attend the best graduate programs, all at a tuition that will not lead to a burdensome student debt level.”

Simply put, “Best Bang for the Buck” recognizes the economic value students receive per dollar spent on their educations and salutes colleges that score well on measures of access, affordability and student outcomes.

Overall, the Washington Monthly examined colleges across the nation that are doing the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices. Only 386 made the cut as “Best Bang for the Buck” schools.

The editors of the college guide and rankings noted that schools had to meet four criteria. First, at least 20 percent of their students must be receiving Pell Grants. Second, the graduation rate must be at least 50 percent. Third, each school’s actual graduation rate must meet or exceed the rate that would be statistically predicted for that school given the number of lower-income students admitted. And, finally, schools must have a student loan default rate of 10 percent or less. These are all areas in which Murray State is typically strong.

Once Washington Monthly compiled the list, the “buck” part of the measure was applied by ranking schools based on the net price of attendance. Net price is defined as the average tuition that first-time, full-time students from families with an annual income of $75,000 or less actually pay after subtracting the need-based financial aid received.

“We work hard to ensure we are the best value for our students and their families,” Davies continued. “The ‘Best Bang for the Buck’ ranking verifies that we are successful in this effort.”



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