5 Florida universities make Kiplinger's 'best-value' list

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Five of Florida's universities make Kiplinger's list of the list of the 100 best value public universities in the nation.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a Washington-based financial forecaster, ranked universities based on graduation rates, academic support, access to financial aid and tuition cost.

University of Florida was ranked No. 3 in the national survey of schools that combine outstanding education with great value. New College of Florida made the top 10 at No. 7, and Florida State University was the 26th best value school in the country. The University of Central Florida came in at 42nd and the University of North Florida was ranked 64th.

"We take great pride in being nationally recognized by some very elite organizations for delivering an exceptional education at an exceptional value," said UNF President John Delaney. "First-rate academic programs, amazing out-of-classroom experiences and affordable cost provide a value that is hard to beat."

Gov. Rick Scott's pledge to keep tuition in the state low could put more universities on the "best-value" list in 2013.

"You want to make sure that families in the state can afford a great education," said Gov. Rick Scott.

But many educators wonder if some quality will be lost in the process of keeping tuition low.

"If I'm losing faculty, it's harder for our students to have classes and it slows down their ability to finish," said Florida State University President Eric Barron. "That's a waste of state dollars and that's a waste of student dollars."

Florida's public universities have vowed to make no tuition increases in 2013 as long as state lawmakers fund their budgets.

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