WU recognized as best value institution by Princeton Review
Washington University received another commendation from a national review that accessed overall college experience.
The Princeton Review awarded the University with a “best value distinction,” a title given to 50 private and 50 public universities based on 30 components categorized within three principal classifications: academics, cost of attendance, and financial aid factors.
Because of the ways in which best value schools are decided, the significance of Washington University’s designation is unclear.
When considering the price tag put on education, the Princeton Review considers the aggregate cost of tuition, room and board, and other miscellaneous fees. For a school to qualify for the “best value” tag, it must charge a relatively low sticker price or make attending college more affordable via scholarships, grants, loans and work-study options. The University falls into the latter category.
Julie Shimabukuro, director of undergraduate admissions, acknowledged that while the Princeton Review’s recognition is an honor, the admissions office is unsure of how it will affect future enrollment at the University.
“What influences admissions the most is when our current students tell their friends, prospective students and our visitors about their experiences at Wash. U.,” Shimabukuro said.
According to the Princeton Review’s website, the nation’s best academic institutions are in the running for best value schools. The Princeton Review decides which schools will receive the distinction after reviewing data and student opinion surveys from 650 institutions.
To make the list, schools must attract high-quality students and have outstanding admissions credentials. Furthermore, students must rate their experiences positively.
Many students on campus view Washington University as a high-value institution.
“I agree [with the ranking]. I get financial aid from the student office [Student Financial Services], and I’m satisfied with the education,” junior Jun Yoon said.
Still, some students are hesitant about the meaning of the ranking,
“It’s hard to put a dollar value on education….If education is about getting high-paying jobs, then this is a top-value school,” senior Catherine Yeung said.
In addition to academics, Princeton Review assesses financial factors with equal consideration. At Washington University, because tuition rises steadily, this monetary issue is of particular importance.
Seniors Sarah Fern admitted that she valued the information from the Princeton Review when deciding on a college to attend. She used the rankings to get a cursory look at schools of interest but didn’t ultimately consider the rankings when making her enrollment decision.
“Rankings get people interested in the school, but it’s the environment that draws them in,” Fern said. “There were other elements besides what was written on paper that sealed the deal.”