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UB, Geneseo, Fredonia among 11 state schools in top 100 best values

Eleven state schools including the University at Buffalo and Geneseo and Fredonia state colleges -- made the latest list of 100 best values in public education.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine Tuesday released its 2011 list of the nation's four-year public institutions "that deliver a stellar education at an affordable price."

Binghamton University came in at No. 6 on the list; Geneseo, No. 7; Stony Brook University, No. 25; New Paltz, No. 36; UB, No. 46; Oneonta, No. 47; Brockport, No. 63; Plattsburgh, No. 64; Fredonia, No. 65; Cortland, No. 70; and University at Albany, No. 70.

New Paltz, which ranked No. 78 two years ago, has climbed 42 spots since 2009. Binghamton ranks No. 1 and Geneseo No. 2 when it comes to best value for out-of-state students.

"What this ranking says is that SUNY is a bargain," said Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York system. "New Yorkers have an outstanding resource right in their backyard, and national publications are recognizing that quality and unsurpassed value."

SUNY has desperately tried to raise prices to offset the deep cuts in state operating funds the past couple of years.

But Albany failed to pass the SUNY Empowerment Act, which would have allowed campuses to incrementally raise tuition. SUNY then proposed a 2 percent tuition hike, but that also went nowhere with state lawmakers.

As a result, in-state tuition at SUNY's four-year schools has remained at $4,970 for the second straight year, while fees, room and board vary from campus to campus.

However, the total cost at all but one of the recognized SUNY schools, Plattsburgh, is still higher than the national average.

The average annual cost for in-state students attending a public college is $16,140, according to Kiplinger's.

Total cost for a year at UB, meanwhile, is $18,168, according to Kiplinger's. That same price is $17,393 at Geneseo and $17,443 at Fredonia.

"It not only shows prospective students just how marketable a Fredonia education is," said Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner, "but it also assures them that they won't be saddled with exorbitant debt after earning their degree."

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill came in at No. 1 on Kiplinger's list, followed by the University of Florida at No. 2; University of Virginia, No. 3; College of William and Mary in Virginia, No. 4; and University of Maryland, No. 5.

Those on the list are selected from a pool of more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities in the U.S.

Besides cost and financial aid, other determining factors in the rankings include admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios and four- and six-year graduation rates.

For the complete list, check out www.kiplinger.com/tools/colleges.

e-mail: jrey@buffnews.com

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