University Students
Students at a commencement ceremony Reuters

Test-prep major Princeton Review, in collaboration with USA Today, has released its annual ranking of 50 private and 50 public schools in the nation that are considered to offer best value in terms of academic excellence, affordability and financial aid availability. The top 10 schools in each category have been ranked, while the rest are mentioned in alphabetical order without any ranks assigned.

The University of Virginia at Charlottesville and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania have held on to the top positions that they also earned in 2010, in the public and private categories respectively. The complete top-ten lists in each category looks as follows:

Top 10 Best Value Public Colleges for 2011

1. University of Virginia (Charlottesville VA)
2. New College of Florida (Sarasota FL)
3. University of Florida (Gainesville FL)
4. State University of New York at Binghamton (Binghamton NY)
5. University of Georgia (Athens GA)
6. University of Michigan (Ann Arbor MI)
7. College of William and Mary (Williamsburg VA)
8. University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill NC)
9. North Carolina State University (Raleigh NC)
10. City University of New York - Hunter College (New York NY)

Top 10 Best Value Private Colleges for 2011

1. Swarthmore College (Swarthmore PA)
2. Duke University (Durham NC)
3. Princeton University (Princeton NJ)
4. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena CA)
5. Harvard College (Cambridge MA)
6. Wesleyan University (Middletown CT)
7. Williams College (Williamstown MA)
8. Vanderbilt University (Nashville TN)
9. Wesleyan College (Macon GA)
10. Yale University (New Haven CT)

The rankings are based on analysis of institutional and financial data collected from 650 colleges and universities in student surveys conducted between fall 2009 and 2010. The process considered a large number of factors in three primary areas: academic excellence, that included the quality of students the schools attract and students' rating of their academic experiences therein; cost of attendance which included tuition, room and board, and required fees; and financial aid which included the average aid awarded to students, the percentage of graduating students who took out loans to pay for school, and the average debt of those students.