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Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranks UNC-Chapel Hill the best value in American public higher education for a “remarkable” 10th time in a row.

Kiplinger’s started ranking the best values in public universities in 1998; Carolina has been number-one every time. The ranking appears in the magazine’s February issue.

Kiplinger’s editors say their top 100 public campuses deliver “a stellar education at an affordable price.”

The universities of Florida, Virginia and the College of William and Mary ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, followed by the University of Maryland (College Park), Binghamton University, the State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo, and the universities of Georgia, Wisconsin (Madison), and Washington. Other UNC system schools making the list were N.C. State, 15th; UNC-Wilmington, 27th; Appalachian State University, 35th; UNC School of the Arts, 48th; and UNC-Asheville, 58th.

“We’re so fortunate at Carolina because our students are terrific, and they come from almost every imaginable background,” says Chancellor Holden Thorp. “The top Kiplinger’s ranking resonates for us because it recognizes our passion for providing the highest-quality education possible to these students at an affordable price.”

Kiplinger’s rankings story, “Best Values in Public Colleges,” focuses on how the global economic downturn has forced sweeping and likely permanent changes in U.S. public higher education because of state budget cuts and reduced federal funding.

“The takeaway for soon-to-be matriculating students: Look for schools that deliver an outstanding, affordable education in good times and bad,” Kiplinger’s story says. “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ranked Kiplinger’s number-one best value for public colleges and universities for a remarkable 10 times running, is a prime example. Carolina’s admission rate remains among the lowest on our annual list; its students are among the most competitive; and its in-state cost, at $17,000, is not much higher than the average price ($16,140) for all public universities. For students who qualify for need-based aid, the total price for this top-tier university drops to an average of $7,020.”

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