There's only one golden rule of college finance -- look beyond the sticker price. For students with good grades, these institutions are educational steals, thanks to their low tuition costs, generous financial aid packages or innovative aid opportunities. Handpicked by examining each school's admissions selectivity and net cost for middle-income families, these institutions provide significant bang for your tuition bucks.
They are some of the best-value colleges in the country and worth checking out.
Look past the $43,170 tuition tag at this elite liberal arts school and check out their financial aid packages instead. According to The College Board, the average need-based scholarship or grant award package is currently $33,515 per year while the average non-need-based financial aid package is nearly $38,000 per year.
The sticker price deters many applicants, but this financial aid package is so robust that the typical family with combined incomes of $75,000 or less pays just more than $10,000 per year, reports NCES. That's a lower net price than almost any other public college in Virginia.
University of Richmond is also a good fiscal bet because most students graduate on time. About 82 percent of students graduate in four years, giving the school one of the highest four-year graduation rates in the country.
"A cheap school that makes a four-year experience into a six-year experience is not cheap at all," says Asher. When assessing whether an institution is a good fiscal deal, Asher encourages families to examine its four-year graduation rate.
Copyright 2011, Bankrate Inc.