Great Value Colleges is a premier website to help you:
- find the best degree for you;
- the best college to earn your degree;
- career options after you graduate;
- resources for your degree and career.
Our mission: to help you get the best possible education for your money.
We do this through high-quality, researched-based articles and rankings covering many angles. Typically, our rankings are based on publicly available information from reputable third-party sources. We reference the sources, along with the methodology we used in developing the ranking.
From program rankings to degree offerings by state, you’ll find everything you need to know at Great Value Colleges.
The First Step
The first step is to decide where to go. Determining where to go is often a huge factor in determining how to make it happen. We’ll help you find an affordable, quality college education.
Higher & Higher Costs
According to a recent Digest for Educational Statistics report, the average total cost to attend a four-year college or university can run between $17,474 and $39,302 a year, depending upon whether the college is public, private, or private not-for-profit. These numbers include tuition, fees, and room and board.
Even Higher Costs
These costs are merely the average. Some states are much higher than others, and all states charge more tuition for out-of-state residents than they do for in-state residents.
For example, that $17,474 yearly national average total cost for attending a public university jumps to over $32,000 per year, if that public school happens to be in Vermont, and the student is from out-of-state. Meanwhile, a four-year private university in Massachusetts will set students and their families back approximately $50,000 a year, well above the national average of just over $37,000 for that type of university.
Nonresident students pay up to $26,000 more a year than their in-state classmates, and receive less university-sponsored financial aid.
Making the Smartest Choices
At the same time, many students want or need to attend an out-of-state school or a private university. Our job is to help you find the schools that provide the best value for your investment.
“Value” means different things to different people, depending upon your:
- Unique situation;
- Individual circumstances;
- Personal belief system;
- Academic goals;
- Desired major;
- Desired career path;
- Any special needs you may have.
A “value college” is one that addresses issues such as while remaining budget-friendly.
You are unique. So are your needs and your dreams.
We do not take a “one-size-fits-all” approach as many other guides and websites do. We work to help you as an individual.
We Can Help…Really
At Great Value Colleges, we have years of expertise helping students choose from among only those colleges and universities that provide them with the best education and the most comprehensive package of student assistance, support, and services.
All of the information we share with you is backed up by meticulous research garnered from many sources. We use a steady, multifaceted approach to determine which schools can truly be considered “Great Values.” Some of the criteria we look at include the following.
Total Cost of Attendance On-and-Off-Campus
Some students and their families only look at tuition prices when they are researching a university. They forget about the cost of books, room and board, the numerous fees, and the “incidental” money that a student needs.
Many people also forget to look at those expenses outside of the school – social and cultural activities, additional transportation, and the cost of living in the surrounding area. Most students, when they become upperclassmen, move off campus into apartments or homes.
These factors have to be taken into account to measure true affordability.
At Great Value Colleges we’ve done the research. We know what the real numbers are and where you can find some hidden gems.
Return on Investment
William Bennett, former Education Secretary under President Reagan coined the phrase “return on investment” (ROI).” In this case, ROI is the graduate’s future earnings. By examining such factors as the cost of attendance, the student debt incurred, and the lifetime earnings, a determination of the probable ROI can be made.
Attending the right college, one that can prepare you for future success while delivering exceptional value and affordability is much harder than it looks and more important than can be imagined.
We have examined the data in many categories, comparing the ROI suggestions from several different sources. Regardless of your choice of major or chosen career path, we can help you find the right school that will help you realize the highest ROI in your career field.
Availability of Financial Aid and Assistance
The largest single way colleges and universities can create a bridge to affordability for their students is by having a variety of financial aid and assistance in the form of:
- university-sponsored scholarships;
- fellowship programs;
- employment programs.
The difference in offerings between two similarly-priced schools can be significant, and that difference can have a major impact on your decision.
For example, a degree from Williams College costs about $217,000. About 53% of students receive aid, averaging a little over $38,000. Santa Clara University costs almost exactly the same. About 87% of students receive aid, but the average amount is only about $19,000.
Knowledge like this is critical. At Great Value Colleges, we understand that financial aid can be tailored to fit the individual student. We help you find the fit that is just right.
Don’t Just Get a Degree, Get the Right Degree
Many people believe that a college degree guarantees future economic success. If you look at a college education as an investment, then you have to realize that the ROI on that investment differs greatly depending upon the chosen major.
Certain majors command higher salaries than other, majors, both upon entry into the job market and at mid-career, sometimes by a factor of two or three.
For example, according to a Georgetown University study, certain Computer Science/Information Technology degrees can be worth a $100,000 yearly salary immediately following graduation.
At the same time, and perhaps even from the same school, the starting salary for a person with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work is about $30,000 per year.
In the end, you have to choose a major that feels right for you, one that fits your interests and passions. If you love what you do, you’ll have a successful and rewarding career.
These are just a few of the factors that Great Value Colleges takes into account. As you can tell, each factor can be influenced by a number of facts unique to each individual school. We weigh all of these factors and facts when we are comparing the schools against each other.
We take our responsibility to students and their families very seriously. We want to be your resource for accurate information about the best colleges and universities right for you.
To get an idea of the best schools and programs around the country start here.
Sources and References
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., Gabby is a freelance writer with a BA in journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. There, she interned at USA Today, managed an on-campus magazine, boxed competitively and achieved a minor in creative writing. As a traditional, out-of-state student, Gabby has first-hand experience with the debilitating realm of student debt.