IU Bloomington tops in Big Ten, 17th nationally in Washington Monthly best value rankings

  • Sept. 12, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University’s efforts reining in tuition increases to a near half-century low and keeping students on a timely course toward graduation through programs like “Finish in Four” are getting national attention.

In its new “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings -- a nationwide analysis comparing which schools charge the least while still providing students the best possible chance of graduating with a marketable degree -- the Washington Monthly ranked IU Bloomington 17th among the 1,572 universities and colleges it reviewed.

In a more refined look at only larger national universities, the non-profit publication that covers Beltway politics and U.S. government, culture and media listed IU even higher, at number eight, with Michigan State as the next closest Big Ten school in the rankings at 23rd.

Only 349 universities and colleges of the 1,572 studied made the “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings, which took into account accessibility to students of moderate income (at least 20 percent Pell grant eligible), graduation rates of at least 50 percent within six years, graduation rates that were higher than predicted based on the percentage of moderate and low-income students accepted and a low student loan default rate.

All of the qualified universities were then ranked on average net cost of attendance, placing IU Bloomington 17th overall and tops in the Big Ten.

IU Executive Vice President and IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel said IU Bloomington's 17th place overall ranking and eighth place spot on the national universities list is evidence of a concerted effort to keep a quality education at a world class institution affordable.

“Offering a quality education that sets students on a course for a successful career in a timely manner, no matter their financial status, is a balancing act every institution of higher learning must contend with,” Robel said. “What we are seeing reflected in these new rankings is the commitment by so many of our constituents -- students, faculty, administrators, state leaders, alumni -- to explore every avenue possible to meet that core objective while still maintaining the highest standards of academic excellence.”

Recent undergraduate tuition and fee increases of 1.75 percent for most resident students and 2.75 percent for non-resident students were the lowest in at least 40 years, Robel noted, and some 11,000 juniors and seniors at IU currently on track to graduate in four years saw no increase this fall in their tuition thanks to IU’s new “Finish in Four” program.

In ranking U.S. universities and colleges by net price to identify which are doing the best job of helping nonwealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices, the Washington Monthly looked at the average tuition that first-time, full-time students from families with an annual income of $75,000 or less actually pay after subtracting the need-based financial aid they receive.

Those calculations gave IU Bloomington an average net cost of attendance of $8,129; Big 10 runner-up in the rankings Michigan State came in at $10,092 (39th). IU Bloomington's six-year graduation rate was 72 percent, students had but a three percent loan default rate and 21 percent of its students were Pell Grant eligible.

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Lauren Robel

IU Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel | Photo by Steve Raymer

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Mark Land

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