Value rankings omit U

The University’s Morris campus, though, came in ninth in one category of the national rankings.

by Jamie VanGeest

The University’s Twin Cities campus isn’t a great value, according to Kiplinger’s magazine.

When the personal finance magazine recently came out with its “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” list, the school was absent from the rankings.

But another University of Minnesota campus fared better ” the Morris campus came in at No. 55.

For out-of-state tuition, the list ranked the school at No. 9.

“I think (the University’s Morris campus) makes lots of lists as a best buy because it offers an experience that’s the equivalent in almost every way of a private liberal arts college at a dramatically lower price,” said the University’s Morris campus Chancellor Sam Schuman.

The University’s Morris campus is highly selective in admissions and does not have a need for teaching assistants as their faculty to student ratio is 13:1, Schuman said.

The University’s Morris campus first-year student Amber Holm said she agreed that her school should be highly ranked.

Holm said she gets one of the best educations for a good price because Morris students receive a private school education that isn’t $30,000.

“The town of Morris is really boring, but the school is really good,” Holm said.

Schuman said that when organizations make lists like this, the Morris campus and the Twin Cities campus aren’t often compared.

Last year, the University’s Morris campus ranked No. 4 for public liberal arts colleges on a U.S. News & World Report list.

Rankings mean a lot to those who do well in them, wrote University News Service director Dan Wolter in an e-mail.

He is very proud of the fact the University’s Morris campus is listed as a great bargain for students in and out of state, he wrote.

Graduation rates have been an issue for the University’s Twin Cities campus when it comes to national rankings, but rates have been steadily increasing, according to Wolter.

Wolter said he views the Twin Cities campus as a great bargain as one of the best public research universities in the world at an affordable price.

Rather than rankings, Wolter suggested looking at the 30 percent increase in students applying to the Twin Cities campus as evidence of the school’s quality.

First-year dental student Katie Torscano said she thinks the University’s Twin Cities campus is worthwhile because it’s cheaper than out-of-state schools and is close to her home.

Continuing education student Jennifer Kuyava, who has attended the University since 2000, said she has noticed significant tuition increases since then.

“I think (the University’s Twin Cities campus) is out of reach for many people, and I have had to make a lot of sacrifices to go here,” Kuyava said.

The University’s Morris campus costs $8,204 per year, and the school doesn’t charge nonresident tuition.

Tuition and fees for the University’s Twin Cities campus is $8,854 per year for Minnesota resident undergraduate students. For nonresidents tuition and fees are $20,484 per year.

The estimated cost for an in-state resident at the University’s Twin Cities campus is $18,430. For nonresidents who are not part of the reciprocity agreement, the cost is $30,060, according to financial estimates on the schools’ Web sites.

Other Midwest state schools fared better in the finance magazine’s examination. Wisconsin made three appearances on the list, with Wisconsin-Madison ranked at No. 15, Wisconsin-La Crosse at No. 36 and Wisconsin-Eau Claire at No. 69.

Three Iowa schools also made the list. Iowa ranked at No. 47, Iowa State University of Science and Technology ranked at No. 71 and the magazine listed Northern Iowa at No. 97.

According to Kiplinger’s Web site, the list is based on academic quality and costs. Academic quality counts for two-thirds of the calculated score

The list ranked academic quality based on the percentage of the schools’ first-year students who scored 600 or higher on the verbal and math components of the SAT or 24 or higher on the ACT.

The magazine also looked at admission rates, first-year retention rates, student to faculty ratios, and four- and six-year graduation rates.