In these times of tight or reduced state budgets, it's important for some colleges to efficiently spend their limited resources in order to produce the highest possible educational quality. U.S. News has developed an exclusive new list showing which schools are able to produce the highest educational quality, as determined by their place in our Best Colleges rankings, but spend relatively less money to achieve that quality.
U.S. News measures financial resources by taking into account how much a school spends per student on instruction, research, student services, and related educational expenditures. Financial resources has a 10 percent weight in the Best Colleges ranking methodology.
The new list is based on operating efficiency, defined as a school's 2011 fiscal year financial resources per student divided by its overall score (the basis U.S. News uses to determine its overall numerical rank) in the 2013 Best Colleges rankings. This calculation reveals how much each school is spending to achieve one point in the overall score and its position in the rankings.
The less a school is spending relative to its ranking, the more efficient it is in producing a quality education among its peers.
How should these results be interpreted? Schools that are featured on this list are doing a good job in managing their financial resources relative to other schools that may have larger state funding, higher tuition, or larger endowments. Many of these schools are likely to be more affordable in terms of tuition relative to others in their ranking category, since almost all of them are public universities.
Only schools that were numerically ranked in the top half of their ranking category in the Best Colleges 2013 rankings were included in this analysis. Additionally, only the categories that had a significant proportion of both public and private universities were considered.
The tables below show the universities that score highest on the operating efficiency measure. These are the schools that are providing a high quality education while spending relatively less than their peers to achieve it. Note: A school's overall rank is partly based on a two-year average of expenditures per student; the financial resources figures displayed below reflect only the most recent year.
|School name (state)||U.S. News National Universities rank||Financial resources per student (FY 2011)|
|Florida State University||97||$17,731|
|Brigham Young University--Provo (UT)||68||$20,441|
|Miami University--Oxford (OH)||89||$19,091|
|University of Alabama||77||$20,288|
|College of William and Mary (VA)||33||$27,572|
|Colorado School of Mines||77||$21,417|
|University of Missouri||97||$21,226|
|Binghamton University--SUNY (NY)||89||$22,181|
|Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey--Newark||115||$20,801|
|University of Georgia||63||$27,028|
|Clemson University (SC)||68||$26,293|
|University of South Carolina||115||$21,389|
|Clark University (MA)||83||$25,073|
|Duquesne University (PA)||120||$21,216|
|University of Oregon||115||$21,749|
|Texas Christian University||92||$24,486|
|Missouri University of Science & Technology||125||$21,044|
Regional Universities (North)
|School name (state)||U.S. News Regional Universities (North) rank||Financial resources per student (FY 2011)|
|Salisbury University (MD)||47||$10,497|
|Towson University (MD)||44||$12,018|
|College of New Jersey||6||$22,625|
|University of Scranton (PA)||10||$20,059|
Regional Universities (South)
|School name (state)||U.S. News Regional Universities (South) rank||Financial resources per student (FY 2011)|
|James Madison University (VA)||6||$13,480|
|Appalachian State University (NC)||10||$13,576|
|University of Mary Washington (VA)||16||$13,338|
|College of Charleston (SC)||11||$14,253|
|Belmont University (TN)||7||$16,894|
Regional Universities (West)
|School name (state)||U.S. News Regional Universities (West) rank||Financial resources per student (FY 2011)|
|California Polytechnic State University--San Luis Obispo||6||$16,159|
|California State University--Long Beach||28||$11,561|
|Western Washington University||27||$12,547|
|California State University--Fullerton||31||$11,855|
|Gonzaga University (WA)||4||$21,794|
Regional Universities (Midwest)
|School name (state)||U.S. News Regional Universities (Midwest) rank||Financial resources per student (FY 2011)|
|Truman State University (MO)||8||$12,002|
|University of Wisconsin--La Crosse||24||$11,318|
|University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire||31||$12,078|
|University of Wisconsin--Whitewater||49||$10,951|
|Drake University (IA)||3||$20,029|
The financial resources per student data above are correct as of Dec. 6, 2012.