University ranked top value

A personal finance magazine recently ranked USF the 79th best value for a public college. Six Florida schools made the top 100 list by Kiplinger’s, and USF was ranked as the fifth-best value.

The data was determined from a field of 500 public universities nationwide and was based on overall academic strength versus the cost of attendance.

Some students were pleased with the result.

“I think that 79th is pretty good,” said Helsey Kaherty, who is majoring in international studies. “Number two must be like nirvana or something.”

Katie Cox, who graduated in 2003 with a degree in fine arts, said that she was happy with the overall value of USF despite having frequent difficulty with the financial aid department and graduating with a large amount of debt. She didn’t think that these rankings had much substance, however.

“I can’t really put a monetary value on it,” she said.

Some students have ideas for what USF can do to improve its standing. Cox questioned whether the current hiring freeze was necessary or whether the University needed a new student union, saying that tuition money could be better spent on things to improve academics.

“We could probably improve a couple departments,” Kaherty said, “The departments that are in Cooper are falling apart.”

The level of academic strength was determined based on the number of freshman who scored higher than 600 on the math and verbal components of the SAT, admission rates, student-faculty ratios, graduation ratios and freshman retention rates. This was judged against the total cost of attendance, the average percentage of need met by aid and the average debt a student has accrued by graduation.

The University of Florida and The New College of Florida ranked in the top five, at second and fifth respectively.