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'Value' colleges have an edge in tough economic times

Given today's economic strains, applicants for admission to college are almost forced to be more value-conscious than ever. In that spirit, a list virtually guaranteed to interest them is "Best Value Public Colleges," compiled by the Princeton Review, the educational services/test preparation company, in partnership with USA Today. Some large, familiar schools (among them Florida State and the universities of Virginia and Georgia) make the Top 10, but so do smaller, lesser-known schools such as New College of Florida and the State University of New York at Binghamton. New College began in the late 1950s in Sarasota and today is the liberal arts honors college for the state university system. Its enrollment: just 800 students. The "value" selections were based on a survey of administrators and students, who were asked to evaluate schools in three areas: academics, costs, and financial aid. The institutions judged the "Best Value Public Colleges" and where each is located:


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