Students play Frisbee on Clemson's Bowman Field.

Clemson University students play a little Frisbee on Bowman Field. (Photo by Ken Scar)

CLEMSON — Clemson University again has been named to Kiplinger’s personal finance list of 100 best values in public colleges. The citation recognizes four-year schools that deliver quality education at an affordable price.

Clemson, the highest-ranked school in South Carolina, is No. 24 for in-state students for the second consecutive year, and rose from No. 36 to No. 29 for out-of-state students, among the top 100 colleges. The university’s rankings are attributed to its high four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid, a low sticker price and overall great value.

“We are excited that Clemson has been included in such a prestigious group of colleges and universities,” said Robert Barkley, Clemson’s director of admissions. “Quality, affordability and a complete student experience are some of the traits that prospective students look for when trying to find a college home.  Those attributes are also a big part of what Kiplinger’s considers in their ranking evaluation process.”

Clemson has climbed consistently in the national ranking; in 2011 the school ranked No. 41 for in-state students and No. 39 for out-of-state students.

Kiplinger’s quality measures, which are weighted more heavily than cost, include the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include sticker price, financial aid and average debt at graduation. Unlike other rankings, which include subjective criteria in their assessments, Kiplinger restricts its analysis to measurable standards of academic quality and affordability, according to the publication.

“There’s no way around it: College is expensive, and it’s going to stay that way for a long time. So, with our rankings — which weigh affordability alongside academic quality — our goal is to help students and their parents understand what’s really worth the price,” said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. “While some may have ranked higher than others, all schools on the list are of extraordinary value, being chosen out of a universe of 1,200.”

The complete rankings are available online at and will in the February 2017 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands Jan. 3.