Western Carolina University once again has been named a 2017 “Best College Value” in an annual review of colleges and universities released by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. WCU is ranked 98th among public higher education institutions across the nation in terms of value for in-state students and 83rd for out-of-state students. The rankings are based on admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, four-year graduation rates, costs of attending, financial aid and average debt of students at graduation.

“We are pleased that Western Carolina University once again has been recognized as one of the top 100 values among public colleges and universities in the nation,” said Chancellor David O. Belcher. “We believe this to be an especially important ranking because it incorporates measurements of both academic quality and affordability, with more weight given to academic quality. Affordability and academic quality are precisely what prospective students and their parents say are among their top issues when deciding where to go for a college education.”

WCU is one of seven schools in North Carolina ranked among its top 100 public college values. The magazine’s review begins with a list of 1,200 public and private schools, with a final 300 evaluated as a best value, said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.