Cal State Long Beach in Top 50 for ‘Best Value’ Says Princeton Review

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The Princeton Review named Cal State Long Beach a best value college in their 2011 Top 100 List.

On Tuesday, California State University, Long Beach was named among America’s Top 50 “Best Value” public colleges by The Princeton Review, which teamed up with USA Today to present its annual list of the 100 “Best Value Colleges for 2011.”

The Princeton Review selected the 100 institutions – 50 public and 50 private – as its “best value” choices for 2011 based on its surveys of administrators and students at 650 colleges and universities the company regards as the nation’s academically best undergraduate institutions.  The selection criteria covered more than 30 factors in three areas: academics, costs of attendance and financial aid.

Cal State Long Beach was the only California State University campus making the list of the top 50 public institutions and one of just seven public California universities on the list.  The other six were all campuses of the University of California system.

“We are very pleased to once again be ranked among the top 50 best public university values in the nation,” said CSULB President F. King Alexander.  “This ranking also indicates to taxpayers, consumers, students and parents that the high price tag associated with many colleges and universities nationwide has nothing to do with the quality of the educational experience being offered.”

In its profile of CSULB on USA Today’s website, the editors at The Princeton Review noted,

“Lots of excellent, career-oriented academic options and a fabulous location are a few of the features that make California State University, Long Beach an attractive destination. There are eight colleges and tons of majors. Engineering is particularly strong, and the nursing program has an excellent reputation. The faculty gets stellar reviews from students, especially relative to other schools of CSULB’s size.”

“While a college education is undeniably a valuable investment, paying for college is challenging for most parents,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review publisher and senior vice president.  “Among the 12,000 respondents to our 2010  ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey’ of college applicants and their parents, 86 percent told us financial aid would be ‘’very necessary’ to foot the bill.  For them and for all families seeking academically outstanding colleges that have been exceptional at meeting their students’ needs for financial aid, we’re pleased to have teamed up with USA Today to identify and recommend these 100 institutions as ‘Best Value’ colleges.”

Making the List: What is a ‘Best Value’ School?

The selection process took into account a range of data that covered more than 30 factors in three areas: academics, cost of attendance, and financial aid.

  • Academic factors included the quality of students the schools attract as measured by admissions credentials as well as how students rated their academic experiences.
  • Cost of attendance factors included tuition, room and board, and required fees.   For public colleges, in-state tuition was used.
  • Financial aid factors included the average gift aid (grants and scholarships, or free money) awarded to students, the percentage of graduating students who took out loans to pay for school, and the average debt of those students. Also included was survey data on how satisfied students were with the financial aid packages they received.

The complete lists are posted on the USA Today website at and the Princeton Review website at

Experts Agree, CSULB is a Best Value

This isn’t the first year that CSULB has made the list. The school was recognized as best value for 2010 and achieved a top 3 ranking for best value in 2007. In describing Cal State Long Beach as Best Value school, editors of The Princeton Review write:

About 60 percent of all undergrads receive some kind of financial aid and the administration tries to give as much aid as possible in the form of free money. Grants cover much of the cost of attending for low-income California residents (and pretty much everyone here is a Golden State resident). Scholarships are ample. The four-year President’s Scholars Program here is especially awesome. Recipients get a full ride and a ton of other perks including an annual book allowance and even special parking privileges.

In addition to this recent recognition as a Best Value college, in January, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine also named CSULB to its list of the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2011.  The list ranked four-year institutions that deliver excellent academics while keeping costs to a minimum.

Founded in 1949, CSULB enrolls more than 33,000, making it one of the largest four-year universities in California and the nation.  Students are served by about 2,125 faculty members within the university’s eight colleges, which offer more than 85 baccalaureate degrees, more than 65 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. For information on Cal State Long Beach, visit their website.

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