Virginia Tech has again improved its ranking among the top public colleges and universities in the nation that offer a first class educational experience at a bargain price, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.

The Kiplinger "100: Best Values in Public Colleges" list, released earlier this month for its December issue, ranks Virginia Tech 15th among 100 institutions "that combine outstanding economic value with a first-class education," according to the publication's editors.

In 2007, Virginia Tech ranked 18th; in 2006, Virginia Tech was ranked 20th.

Kiplinger's top 100 colleges are identified from a pool of more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities, and are ranked according to academic quality, cost, and financial aid opportunities. Schools that make the list traditionally work to keep costs down through a variety of creative financing initiatives, such as funds obtained from licensing fees associated with university-branded apparel and other items, and through private fundraising initiatives.

Virginia Tech continues to be among the lowest-cost public universities in the state, and has the lowest cost for Virginia residents among Virginia public institutions.

“With the economic turmoil of 2008, families of all income levels are feeling the financial pinch,” says Fred Frailey, editor of Kiplinger’s. “But schools like these prove that an excellent education is still available at an affordable price.”

Virginia Tech continues to increase its affordability for students by increasing instructional funding for student financial aid. The Funds for the Future program protects certain groups of low-income undergraduates from increases in tuition and fees, and reduces other unmet needs for certain groups of low-income undergraduates.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill topped Kiplinger's list for the seventh year in a row, followed by the University of Florida and the University of Virginia. Four other Virginia institutions — The College of William and Mary, University of Mary Washington, James Madison University, and George Mason University — also appear on this year's list of the top 100.