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July 20, 2016
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As back-to-school season looms, it’s easy to be discouraged by all the dire news reports about the rising costs of college and oppressive student debt. But if you do a little digging over the next couple of months you can find schools that will provide a terrific education at a reasonable price—saving you tens of thousands of dollars and lots of heartache over the next several years.

Our just-released rankings of 705 best-value colleges are a good place to start.

You’re likely to find some unexpected gems on the list, such as this state arts school that offers a great education—and solid earnings prospects—at a great price.

Besides the rankings, our MONEY College Planner website has loads of useful advice, such as this checklist for finding a college that will give you a generous financial aid package.

Best wishes,
Kim

Money-Saving Advice for College Parents and Students

Half of all people with student debt wish they’d done things differently
A new survey finds that too many people aren’t doing basic financial planning, like figuring out what their future monthly payments will be before they take out a student loan. Wall Street Journal

Here’s our seven-step plan to handle student loans. MONEY

How one student cut her college costs by $20,000
MONEY reporter Megan Leonhardt shares her secret. MONEY

One reason for rising tuition: rising presidential pay. MONEY

Can you name the cheapest/most generous/most “meaningful” colleges? Try our fun quiz. MONEY

What’s the best college in your state for value?
Find it on this list. MONEY

Another way to evaluate colleges: how many patents it boasts
UC-Berkeley gets far and away more patents than any other university. National Academy of Inventors

Better chances for in-state students
Speaking of Berkeley, after years of replacing in-state students with higher-paying out-of-staters, it has finally reversed course and admitted more Californians this year. Let’s hope this is a trend for all public colleges. University of California

One of the keys to achieving middle class status: higher education Bloomberg

This Week's Important Deadlines and Scholarships

Featured scholarship:
If you graduated from high school this year and are up for writing three 100-word essays on questions like “What is your favorite quote and why?,” you can enter the contest for a $3,000 scholarship from Couponcode.com. Deadline is Aug. 15. More info.

Important upcoming deadlines:
Aug. 1 is the fall tuition payment deadline at many colleges. To have a smooth transition to college this fall, take a few minutes now to make sure all of your loan documents and aid applications are filled out, and the bill has been covered.

Aug. 5 is the last regular registration date for the Sept. 10 sitting of the ACTs.

ABOUT KIM: Kim Clark, a senior writer for MONEY, paid for classes at four colleges—and degrees from two of them—with jobs, loans, scholarships, and lots of generous financial help from her parents and grandparents. She’s been covering the ins and outs of paying for college for almost 10 years.

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