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Best return on investment: Study finds Kansas State University is top value in Kansas

Friday, June 23, 2017

Higinbotham Gate

A study by SmartAsset finds that Kansas State University provides the best bang for the education buck in Kansas. | Download this photo.


MANHATTAN — For the third year in row, a national study finds Kansas State University is the best education value in Kansas.

K-State again tops SmartAsset's study of which schools provide the best bang for the educational buck in the Sunflower State. The study measures tuition, living costs, average scholarships and grants, starting salary upon graduation and retention rates at 10 Kansas schools to determine its best value schools. SmartAsset is a financial data and technology company.

Among the factors keeping K-State at the top of the list include having the highest average starting salary for new graduates and the highest student retention rate in the state — both by wide margins over other Kansas schools.

"K-State students and our graduates are directly benefiting from a remarkable return on their investment," said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students. "A high-paying job in your area of interest — and most often in the state of Kansas — is the immediate goal of many of the students we serve. Students, family members and employers — everybody wins by choosing to attend K-State and by hiring K-Staters. This index value is huge and no one is even close to matching the return in investment K-Staters have enjoyed for the past three years."

The average starting salary for a new K-State graduate is $48,300, which is up $400 from last year's study and is $1,400 higher than the average for a new graduate of the University of Kansas, the second-place school in this category. K-State's student retention rate of 83 percent was 3 percent higher than second-place KU's.

The good news, Bosco said, is that K-State's retention rate is continuing to climb, with the freshman-to-sophomore rate at 85.11 percent. He credits K-State's first-year retention programs, called K-State First, for increasing student retention. The university also is ensuring college is affordable by awarding $230 million in financial aid, including $29 million in scholarships, each year. With more than 250 degrees and options and student services such as free tutoring, financial counseling and career placement, Bosco said the university is committed to helping students graduate and find good jobs.

"Progress toward graduation, jobs and affordability are K-State priorities because they are so important to our students and prospective students," Bosco said. "This study shows we are succeeding."

Along with K-State and KU, the schools in the study included Baker University, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Friends University, MidAmerica Nazarene University, Pittsburg State University, Washburn University and Wichita State University.


Pat Bosco



Written by

Beth Bohn

At a glance

The best bang for your educational dollar in Kansas is Kansas State University, which tops the SmartAsset study of schools that provide the best value in education. It's the third year in a row that K-State has topped the list for Kansas.