TODAY   |  February 05, 2013

Top 10 best value public, private colleges

According to a new study, more than 26 million people are in debt after going to college. To offset the cost of higher education, the Princeton Review and USA Today took a closer look at the schools that will give you the most bang for your buck. Rob Franek of the Princeton Review discusses their findings.

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>>> with student loan debt on the rise, princeton review and usa today take a closer look at college costs and compiled a list of the best private and public schools for the money. senior vice president of the princeton review and author of "the best value colleges." welcome back, rob.

>> thanks for having me back.

>> good to have you here. we're going to talk private and public schools . when it comes to value what do you look for?

>> we started with 2,000 different undergraduate schools and put them through 30 different academic costs and financial aid were the three big buckets. but weren't making their family's mortgages pay for their future.

>> good to know. at number five, university of california , los angeles .

>> perennial princeton review favorite. but it's a big school, 26,000 students. when we start to think about the average cost , $23,800. real cost of attendance .

>> in-state tuition.

>> for a california kid. minus average freshman grant, money they don't have to pay back, $16,100, bringing the cost down to $7,700.

>> the college of william & mary , number three. the new college of florida in sarasota, michael jordan 's alma mater . talk about a bargain. how much of a bargain is this school?

>> $17,400 minus $12,900 average freshman grant, $4,500. lined with gold, chapel hill .

>> you just have to get in if you're out of state.

>> which is hard, no doubt.

>> the same thing with number one on that list. biggest bang for your buck is university of virginia , again. so public school . what makes this the big public school bargain?

>> spectacular value. we start to look at the numbers. we bring it down to $3,400 for an average student coming from virginia.

>> private schools really quickly, pomona college in clairemont, california. students love it there. it's a beautiful campus.

>> oh, yeah.

>> princeton university , no connection to princeton review , williams college in massachusetts and number two, harvard college . we should mention. and number one, for the private colleges, swarthmore college in pennsylvania. how much are students paying here when you consider how much aid they're being granted?

>> swarthmore, a big sticker price, bringing it down to about $18, 00 for the average student. so many schools, as you mentioned, are giving out 100% of the student fees, not forcing them to take out dollar one in student loans .

>> they can use some of that aid to travel overseas is this.

>> study abroad programs, experience for learning within the states as well. these schools are love letters when it comes to financial aid and not forcing a student to take out a loan.

>> bob franik, always great information.