Kaila Frisone, For The Miami Student

For the 14th year, Miami University received a place on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine’s “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” list. This year, Miami placed 52nd for in-state best values nationwide and 49th among the out-of-state public university values.

Brent Shock, director of student financial assistance, said he is very pleased with Miami’s placement of the top 100 and other national rankings.

“They reflect what we already know, which is that the value of a Miami University education is top notch. It can’t be beat,” Shock said.

According to Kiplinger’s, a number of factors are used to calculate the value of the top 100 schools including cost and financial aid, student indebtedness, competitiveness, graduation rates and academic support.

The two factors with the most weight are cost and financial aid, weighing in with 33 percent, and competitiveness with 22 percent.

Marc Wojno, senior associate editor at Kiplinger’s, said a good competitiveness score can be obtained if incoming first-years have high test scores, the university has a low admission rate and the number of accepted applicants enrolling is high.

Miami jumped 25 spaces on the list this year and Wojno said the improvement is largely because the incoming first-years scored higher on standardized test scores.

Wojno said competitiveness was weighed more heavily than some of the other factors because it is a factor many prospective students and parents desire, and also improves the academic quality of a school.

“This was a decision we talked about amongst each other as to what was most important to highlight,” Wojno said.

This year, schools received extra points in their student indebtedness score if a low percentage of students borrowed money and if the average debt at graduation was low.

Wojno said the socioeconomic status of the families from which students come is not factored into their report.

The student-faculty ratio and first-year retention rate are factors for the academic support score. Miami’s student-faculty ratio was 17 and it’s first-year retention rate was 89 percent.

Miami also has a four-year graduation rate of 68 percent.

“Certainly, the university should be very proud of our graduation rate. We’re among the highest nationally,” Shock said.

The only other public Ohio college to make the list was Ohio State University, which placed 37th in-state and 40th out-of-state. Wojno said Ohio private schools also tend to make the top 100 in the private school ranking.

“Our rankings are proving that it (the value of public schools versus private schools) is very comparable these days,” Wojno said.

Senior Megan St. Arnauld said she used rankings such as Kiplinger’s when applying to colleges. As an out-of-state student, she found the rankings of cost value to be most helpful.

Shock said he is proud of Miami’s ranking in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine as well as Miami’s recognition by Payscale.com as the number one Ohio school in regards to best salary potential.

“The outcome (of a college education) is what determines the value and whether or not it was a solid investment,” Shock said.