August 8, 2011 04:12 PM
Tuition at Florida’s universities has been rising steeply in recent years, but the state still has many of the best bargains for a college education, according to a new survey from Forbes Magazine.
Four Florida schools placed in the top 20 of the magazine’s “Top 100 Best Buy Colleges,” released Monday. The University of Florida placed 11th, Florida State University 13th, New College of Florida, 16th and the University of North Florida 19th. The schools charge about $ 18,000 for four years of tuition and fees.
The survey was compiled by looking not only at price, but measures of quality, such as graduation rates, student debt load and faculty pay.
“In these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever that we provide an affordable education that doesn’t sacrifice academic excellence,” said Mike Michalson, president of New College, a small public liberal arts college in Sarasota.
The top three spots on the list went to military service academies that don’t charge tuition: the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. placed first, followed by the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Fourth place went to Cooper Union in New York, which charges about $ 17,000.
Other Florida schools in the top 100 are the University of West Florida (27), the University of Central Florida (42) and the University of South Florida (51).
But Florida schools may start to lose ground on this survey in the future. The Legislature in 2009 authorized tuition at Florida’s public universities to increase by 15 percent a year, until tuition reaches the national average.
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