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SmartAsset, an online destination for consumer-focused financial information, has ranked the best value for money among universities across the U.S.

A study of colleges in Texas concludes that among the top 10 universities in the state offering the best value, Rice University in Houston ranks first, followed by UT at Austin and the University of Houston.

SmartAsset looked at five factors to determine the best value colleges and universities in the U.S.: tuition, student living costs, scholarship and grant offerings, student retention rate and starting salary for new graduates.

Tuition (in-state where applicable), and student living costs like room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other personal expenses, were used to capture the costs associated with attending each school.

SmartAsset then compared the factors that illustrate a student’s return on investment. Student retention rate shows the percentage of students that are re-enrolling at the institution from year-to-year. The average starting salary shows potential earnings of new graduates when they enter the workforce

Additionally, scholarships and grants show the amount of financial backing colleges are endowing to their student body on a per-person basis.

The survey gave 25% weighting to starting salary, tuition and living costs and then gave 12.5% weighting to scholarships and grants, as well as retention rate, to come up with our Best Value Colleges Index. Schools were ranked in accordance with their score on the index, with the number one school receiving a score of 100 and each additional school’s index value representing how closely they compare.

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