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Forbes Ranks UW Among Nation’s Best Value Colleges

August 4, 2011

The University of Wyoming has been ranked as one of the best value colleges in the United States by Forbes.

That might be news to some people. It wasn't to Rob Dennis.

"We take a lot of pride in knowing that we provide a tremendous value to our students, and we're excited that Forbes is helping to spread the word," says Dennis, UW's associate director for admissions. "We offer the perfect combination of academic excellence, state-of-the-art facilities, robust scholarship programs and affordability that allows for a fantastic higher-education experience for our students."

In its annual rankings, released this week, Forbes has UW No. 10 on its list of "Best Colleges for the Money." The four schools atop the rankings -- U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and Cooper Union (N.Y.) -- offer free tuition to all students.

The "value" ranking, prepared exclusively for Forbes by the Center for College Affordability, measures the overall cost of each school relative to the quality of education.

While UW Provost Myron Allen says people should be skeptical of oversimplified college rankings, he adds, “It’s gratifying to be recognized for providing a great education at low cost to students.”

Zach Taylor, a fifth-year political science major from Aurora, Colo., says UW's affordability was a "huge influence" in his decision to head north for college.

"It's a top-of-the-line school but the price isn't at the top of your budget," says Taylor, who has become one of the school's greatest proponents on social media. By early Thursday, he had shared news of UW's Forbes ranking with family, friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.

"The value is in the opportunities you get here. I've had so many experiences as a student that my friends who stayed in Colorado to go to school haven't seen."

One advantage that UW has over many schools, says Taylor, is that its smaller class sizes allow students to build stronger links with their professors. His relationship with one professor resulted in an invitation to dinner at the home of President Tom Buchanan.

"That's something you're probably never going to get at a university other than Wyoming," Taylor says. "It was an awesome experience."

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy was fifth in the "value" rankings, followed by College of the Ozarks (Mo.), Berea College, U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Brigham Young University-Idaho.

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