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10 Best Values in U.S. Colleges, 2018

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Selecting a college and deciding how to pay for it has become a high-stakes financial decision. For the 2017-18 academic year, the average sticker price at private non-profit colleges, including tuition, fees and room and board rose 3.5% to $46,950, according to the College Board. And over the past 15 years, the average student loan debt for those who borrow has increased 29%, while the average earnings of recent college graduates—after adjusting for inflation—has remained relatively flat.

To help you sort through your options and find a school that fits your student's interest—and offers the best bang for your educational buck—we present our annual list of best value colleges and universities. These 10 schools top our combined list, which compares private universities, private liberal arts colleges and public colleges (using out-of-state costs) to help you compare your options side by side.

All the schools in our rankings meet our definition of value—a quality education at an affordable price. We start by examining academic measures, including how competitive admission to a school is and how efficiently it gets students to their degree. On the financial side, we look for schools with affordable sticker prices, generous financial aid for students who qualify, and low student debt at graduation. Private colleges, which typically have more magnanimous financial aid awards and stronger four-year graduation rates than their public counterparts, dominate the top of our combined list.

These 10 schools top our 2018 list for their ability to deliver a quality education at an affordable price.

SEE ALSO: Find the Best College for You

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