CLEMSON – Clemson University has the best alumni network among the nation’s Best Value colleges and universities, according to new rankings announced Tuesday by The Princeton Review.

In its new book “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In – 2015 Edition,” The Princeton Review ranks Clemson’s alumni network No. 1. It’s one of six categories ranked and includes public and private schools.

“This ranking confirms what we already know: Clemson alumni are the most engaged and supportive college alumni in the country,” said Brian O’Rourke, Clemson’s executive director of development and alumni affairs.

“They find time to mentor students, participate in university events and give generously to provide scholarships, build classroom buildings and support faculty so the students of today and tomorrow have the opportunity to succeed.”

Clemson’s ranking was based on data and student surveys about the activities and visibility of alumni and the percentage of alumni who recommend Clemson to prospective students.

Clemson also was ranked 19th in Internship opportunities and 25th in Colleges That Pay You Back – Without Aid.

The Princeton Review – widely known for its test prep and academic tutoring services as well as its dozens of categories of college rankings  – developed a unique “Return-on-Education” (ROE) rating to winnow its list of colleges for this book. ROE measures 40 weighted data points. Everything from academics, cost, financial aid and student debt to statistics on graduation rates, alumni salaries and job satisfaction.

“We strongly recommend these schools. They deliver outstanding academics while working to be affordable to students with need – offering generous financial aid or charging a relatively low cost of attendance (or both),” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s senior vice president/publisher and lead author of “Colleges That Pay Back.”

“Plus, their students graduate with great career prospects,” he said.

The company based its ROE rating on data collected in 2013-14 from its surveys of administrators and students at 650 colleges, plus surveys conducted by PayScale.com through April 2014 of alumni of the same schools.

The 2015 “Colleges That Pay You Back” project is an expansion of The Princeton Review’s annual “Best Value Colleges” list and book first published in 2004.

At the 77 public colleges in the book the:

  • average cost of attendance (sticker price minus average grant) for in-state students receiving need-based aid is $11,900.

Among the 200 colleges (publics and privates) in the book the:

  • average grant to freshmen with need is $22,600,
  • median starting salary of graduates is $48,700: the median mid-career salary is $91,300,
  • percent of alumni reporting “high satisfaction” in their jobs and careers is 71 percent.

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