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Forbes: UML 10th for 'Best Buy'

Lowell Sun
By Rick Sobey

LOWELL -- Another month, another accolade for the state university. 

UMass Lowell is one of the nation's "best buys" in higher education, according to Forbes' "Best Value College" rankings for 2013. This accolade comes one month after UMass Lowell was named the "Most Underrated College in America" by Business Insider, a business and technology news website. 

UMass Lowell is No. 10 in the magazine's rankings, finishing right behind UMass Amherst. As part of its annual "America's Top Colleges" survey, Forbes analyzed post-graduation success, low student-loan debt, academic performance and student satisfaction. 

"We're thrilled about this ranking, and the success of our graduates and our affordability over the years," said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. "The work ethic of our students, choosing careers where there are jobs, coupled with a very reasonably-priced tuition, has put our students in very strong positions for the future." 

Forbes' top five best-value colleges have no tuition charges: United States Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy and Merchant Marine Academy. 

The next five colleges in the rankings are Berea College in Berea, Ky.; College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C.; The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.; UMass Amherst; and UMass Lowell. 

Those schools offered low tuition rates, including $13,415 in-state tuition at UMass Amherst and $11,847 in-state tuition at UMass Lowell. 

Forbes partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity for the rankings. 

CCAP's formula took each school's 2013 overall quality score (weighing post-graduate success, student satisfaction, student debt, four-year graduation rate, and academic success) and dividing this score by the college's 2011 in-state tuition, the most recent year for available data. Forbes and CCAP did not respond for comment to discuss the "best buy" methodology. 

In addition to the Forbes ranking and the "Most Underrated College" accolade, UMass Lowell was recently recognized as one of the top universities for return on investment by and Affordable Colleges Online. 

Meehan said the university does not seek out these accolades; they're independent study groups that analyze data, he said. 

However, Meehan said he thinks these rankings help attract high-quality students. 

"People are more careful about where to go to school, and they're looking at national rankings and see us there," Meehan said. 

"We're getting more students from outside Massachusetts and outside the country, and our enrollment is going up as our quality goes up."