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UMass Amherst named a top 10 ‘best buy’ by Forbes magazine

Area colleges fared well in Forbes magazine’s annual college rankings announced Wednesday, with the University of Massachusetts flagship campus in Amherst earning a distinction as a top 10 best buy.

The region’s four private colleges all cracked the magazine’s top 150 ranking, led by Amherst College at No. 13 overall.

In addition to overall rankings, Forbes compiles separate sets of rankings in other categories, including “Best Value.”

UMass ranking

That’s where UMass Amherst earns distinction as the No. 9 best buy in the country, behind the military academies that earned each of the top-five spots and just ahead of UMass Lowell at No. 10. The rankings are calculated based on in-state tuition and an institution’s overall ranking.

UMass Amherst’s in-state tuition is $13,415, and it ranked 180th overall.

“Flagship state schools offer an excellent education for much lower tuition bills than their average private counterparts,” Forbes said in announcing the results on its website.

The Forbes ranking of 650 U.S. colleges and universities, now in its sixth year, is based on student satisfaction, post-graduate success, student debt, graduation rate and national competitive awards.

Scores are calculated by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Rather than emphasizing what it takes to get into college, Forbes uses a methodology that examines the value of an education for graduates leaving school.

Other schools

‘While the UMass flagship earned an overall ranking of 180, other local colleges all earned high marks. Amherst College came in at 13 (the same as last year), Smith College at 59 (up from 66), Mount Holyoke College at 84 (down from 77) and Hampshire College at 147 (up from 148).

Two non-Ivy League colleges top the rankings for the first time, with Stanford University in the top spot and Pomona College earning silver. The best state school in America is the University of California, Berkeley, at No. 22. The magazine notes a shift in the rankings toward the country’s west coast.

“Here is what makes this shift so significant,” Forbes wrote on its website. “It may splinter the grip of the East Coast Establishment colleges and open up a more diverse, accessible portfolio of best schools for students.”

All eight Ivy League schools, however, made the top 20.

UMass also earned a mention in the magazine for being one of the largest universities in the country to offer online courses and degrees through its UMass-Online consortium with campuses across the state.

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