Southwestern University has again been recognized in Kiplinger’s rankings of colleges providing the best value in higher education. SU moved up from #72 to #59 in the nation—and ranks #2 in Texas—among Best Values in Private Liberal-Arts Colleges. Among all 400 colleges and universities under consideration, Southwestern was recognized as #3 in Texas and #117 in the nation.

Introduced in 1998, Kiplinger’s comprehensive list combines top values for all U.S. colleges and universities. It then ranks best values among the separate categories of private universities, private liberal-arts colleges and universities, and public institutions. 

The criteria for Kiplinger’s best-value rankings included a high-quality education. For example, the editors analyzed academic measures such as student–faculty ratio and retention (i.e., the number of students who return for their sophomore year); less important were incoming students’ test scores and admission rates. Kiplinger’s also looked for schools offering a reasonable price tag, from comparatively affordable tuition and fees to generous financial-aid packages (including need-based aid and merit scholarships) and low student debt at graduation. Four-year graduation rates were given special weight because a timely graduation helps keep costs down for students and their families; at Southwestern, 91% of students who graduate from SU do so in four years. This year, Kiplinger’s awarded further points to schools like Southwestern that provide aid to students demonstrating financial aid throughout their college careers and not just to incoming students.

Kiplinger’s full rankings and College Finder tool, which aims to help students identify their bets college matches, are now available online.