MSU ranks among Kiplinger's top 100 "Best Values" in US colleges and universities

Murray State University has been recognized for the third consecutive year by Kiplinger as one of the top 100 best values in higher education in America according to the 2008 Kiplinger’s 100 Best Values in Public Colleges. Murray remains the only Kentucky school to be included in the rankings, which feature colleges and universities that are noteworthy for their combination of top-flight academics and affordable costs. “Earning recognition in the Kiplinger’s ranking is important to us as we spread the word about our excellent teaching and learning at MSU,” said MSU President Randy Dunn. “We are proud of the great work our faculty and staff have done to again bring MSU national recognition for providing a high quality education that delivers value for our students’ investments of time and money.” Murray came in first in the rankings based on the total cost for out-of-state students to attend and was second in total cost for out-of-state students after financial aid is applied. The university ranked eighth for total cost for in-state students. Murray State also achieved high scores in the categories of six-year graduation rate (23rd) and average debt at graduation (26th). A point of pride for Murray is its ever-improving graduation rates. At 57 percent, MSU boasts Kentucky’s highest graduation rate among the public regional comprehensive universities. Additionally, students who graduate from Murray consistently find themselves with a smaller college debt load than do those from many other institutions across the country. Data from more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities was combined with Kiplinger’s own reporting to reach the study results. Several measures of academic quality were used to trim the list to 120.

The criteria included percentage of freshmen scoring 600 or higher on the verbal and math components of the SAT (or 24 or higher on the ACT); admission rates; freshmen retention rates; student-faculty ratios; and four- and six-year graduation rates. Kiplinger then ranked each school on cost and financial aid. The rating system rewarded schools that were academically strong as well as affordable, Kiplinger officials explained. “In our scoring, academic quality carries more weight than costs (almost two-thirds of the total). We used academic-quality scores and average debt at graduation to break ties,” they wrote. The full rankings can be found online at www.kiplinger.com/tools/colleges/. The study is also detailed in the February 2008 issue of Kiplinger’s magazine, on newsstands now.

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