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Forbes Again Ranks UW among Nation’s Best College Values

August 22, 2012
Three students
University of Wyoming students, from left, Chase McNamee, Shoshoni; Lauren Miller, Parker, Colo.; and Jenna Ramunno, Monument, Colo., take a stroll on Prexy’s Pasture. The three students say affordability and quality programs influenced their decision to attend UW. (UW Photo)

University of Wyoming students Jenna Ramunno, Lauren Miller and Chase McNamee were not surprised that the university again is listed among "America's Best Value Colleges" in rankings released by Their only surprise was that UW wasn’t at the top of the list.

UW ranks 11th in the best value category, part of Forbes’ annual “America’s Top Colleges” rankings, compiled by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity. The rankings measure the overall cost of each school relative to the quality of education offered.

"UW continues to offer an excellent combination of academic experiences, state-of-the-art facilities, robust scholarship programs and affordability for students, so it certainly is appropriate that the university once again is recognized as one of the nation’s best college values,” says Shelley Dodd, UW admissions director.

Jenna RamunnoRamunno, an agricultural business junior from Monument, Colo., says that when colleges in her home state voted to raise tuition, she and her family took a serious look at UW. The low out-of-state tuition and her qualifying for a work study position convinced her to go to UW. A visit to campus sealed the deal.

“It was a better fit for me, everyone was welcoming, and the teachers really know what they are talking about,” says Ramunno, who works for the UW Admissions Office and enjoys playing club volleyball and intramural sports. “It was easy to get connected with what the campus has to offer.”

Lauren MillerMiller, an elementary education major from Parker, Colo., says UW’s affordability was a major factor in her decision to come to UW. Using a Western Undergraduate Exchange award and additional scholarships, she says she was able to attend UW at a lower cost than she would have paid to attend a Colorado university.

Like Ramunno, Miller has no regrets about her decision to attend UW.

“I qualified as a substitute teacher, and was able to apply all of the skills I learned in class to a classroom setting,” Miller says. “All of the professors go out of their way to help you with your career. They prepare you to adapt to all of the constantly changing facets of a career in education.”

Additionally, she took advantage of opportunities to get involved with the community, serving as a College of Education ambassador and sitting on the college’s advisory board.

Shoshoni High School graduate McNamee, a secondary education/history senior, has a unique perspective about the importance of UW’s affordability. Chase McNameeHaving attended two universities in South Dakota, he was faced with large student loans and the prospect of paying tuition that continued to rise. He decided to transfer to UW, which offers the lowest in-state undergraduate tuition among the nation’s doctoral degree-granting public universities. Through the state’s Hathaway Scholarship Program and federal Pell Grant assistance, all of McNamee’s tuition and fees costs were covered.

But that wasn’t the only benefit to attending his state university. He loved the community atmosphere that he didn’t experience at the other schools he attended.

“You can take the classes you want, and the small class sizes allow for a lot of personal attention,” he says. “It’s by far the friendliest campus I’ve been on.”

Getting involved in campus activities was no problem for McNamee. He serves on several student committees and the United Multicultural Council and is active in Kappa Delta Pi, the education honorary.

Forbes top 100 Best Buy Colleges are calculated by taking their overall quality rank on Forbes' annual list of America's Top Colleges and dividing that number by the school's tuition (in-state where applicable) and additional fees. The quality ranking considers the quality of teaching, career prospects, graduation rates and the levels of debt graduates seem to amass.

Schools atop the rankings -- the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and Cooper Union (N.Y.) -- all offer free tuition to students.

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