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Kiplinger's again names UW-Eau Claire a best value college

RELEASED: Jan. 5, 2010

EAU CLAIRE — Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine has again included the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire among its 100 best values in public colleges.

In Kiplinger's 2009-10 "100 Best Values in Public Colleges," UW-Eau Claire is ranked 67th for in-state students and 64th in best value for out-of-state students. The rankings are based on academic quality, overall costs and financial aid availability.

"UW-Eau Claire continues to offer students an extraordinary education at very affordable costs," Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich said. "Our deeply committed faculty and staff offer challenging classroom instruction as well as meaningful out-of-the-classroom experiences. Many students work closely with faculty on complex research, use state-of-the-art equipment, study abroad, complete internships and perform community service. All of these things add great value to our students' undergraduate experience and prepare them for a lifetime of success."

To create its top 100 lists, Kiplinger's reviews data from more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities throughout the country. It narrows the list based on measures of academic quality, including things like ACT scores, graduation rates and student-faculty ratios. It then ranks schools on costs and financial aid. Academic quality carries more weight than costs, according to the magazine.

UW-Eau Claire has taken a number of steps to keep costs affordable while ensuring that it continues to offer the kinds of quality experiences that set UW-Eau Claire students apart, Levin-Stankevich said. For example, the university created a strategic plan that helps identify funding priorities, commits significant dollars to student scholarships and supports faculty in incorporating high impact learning experiences into the curriculum, he said.

Maintaining the value of the Blugold degree is important, and to that end, the university will ask the UW System Board of Regents this spring to support an initiative that will continue to develop the high-value experiences it offers to more of its students. The proposal, known as the Blugold Commitment, will enhance academic quality at the university while increasing differential tuition by $1,200 per academic year when fully phased in after four years.

Differential tuition is a separate category of tuition, above the tuition set annually by the regents. The Student Senate voted in December 2009 to support the request to raise differential tuition to pay for the Blugold Commitment.

"It's clear from our many discussions with students and from the actions of the Student Senate that students support the goals that we are trying to accomplish," Levin-Stankevich said of enhancing the university's value-added programs. "Students want the kinds of experiences that provide the distinctive Eau Claire advantage."

If the Blugold Commitment is approved by the regents, total UW-Eau Claire tuition would still be competitive within the UW System and its regional peers, Levin-Stankevich said.

"We are committed to providing students with a fairly priced, rigorous degree that offers all students the high-value experiences that set our graduates apart," Levin-Stankevich said. "That's why the Blugold Commitment is so important to our students and to preserving the value of a UW-Eau Claire degree."

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JB

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