Kiplinger names Elon University a top-30 Best College Value in the nation

The 2019 ranking places Elon among the nation’s top 30 private universities that combine academic excellence and affordability.  

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranks Elon University as one of the nation’s top values in private higher education in its 2019 edition of the “Best College Values.”

Elon ranks #30 among the top 177 private universities that provide outstanding value along with excellent academic quality. This is Elon’s 13th consecutive best-value recognition by Kiplinger.

​“Elon has always been a top school in best value rankings and this latest Kiplinger report demonstrates what students and their families already know,” said Connie Book, Elon University president. “We carefully steward the university’s finances and make sure the resources provided by students are focused on academic programs, experiential learning and student success. We are proud that Elon’s four-year graduation rate is among the top six percent of U.S. universities and Elon ranks #15 in the nation for employment after graduation. Those measurable outcomes are the result of Elon’s model of strong personal relationships and engaged learning."

The full rankings are available online at and will appear in print in the September 2019 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

Elon ranks in the top-5 among private universities in the Southeast and Mid-South along with Duke, Vanderbilt, Emory and Wake Forest universities.

Elon's total cost is $10,000 to $20,000 lower than most of the other top-50 private universities ranked by Kiplinger. Elon, Duke University and Wake Forest University are the only North Carolina schools ranked in the private universities category. Davidson College and Salem College are recognized in the private liberal arts colleges category.

Total cost of some of Elon's peer private institutions included in the 2019 Kiplinger ranking:

Elon University, $48,449
Creighton University, $52,152 
Butler University, $55,950 
Furman University, $63,056 
Rollins College, $64,972 
University of Richmond, $65,960
Davidson College, $66,819 
Lehigh University, $67,530 
Villanova University, $68,428
Santa Clara University, $68,538 
Bucknell University, $70,654 
Wake Forest University, $70,854

Kiplinger starts with data from nearly 1,200 public and private four-year schools and the list is then narrowed to the top schools based on measures of academic quality, including SAT or ACT scores, admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, and four-year graduation rates. The editors then rank the schools using cost and financial measures, including total cost of attendance, scholarships awarded, average debt of graduates and average alumni salaries.

In its ranking methodology, Kiplinger says it awards the most points to schools with the highest four-year graduation rates, because "graduating on time helps keep costs down." Elon ranks #32 among private universities in the four-year graduation rate measure; the most recent data show that 79 percent of Elon students complete their degrees in four years, and the first-year student retention rate is 90 percent. 

“Our rankings, which weigh affordability alongside academic quality, are designed to help families see how their full array of college options stack up,” said Kaitlin Pitsker, associate editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

Elon has built a national reputation as the premier student-centered environment for engaged, experiential learning, with an emphasis on strong personal relationships between students and their faculty and staff mentors. Elon ranks #1 in the nation for study abroad and the core curriculum includes a strong global focus. Seventy-nine percent of Elon graduates have at least one international study experience and Elon is among the nation’s top universities for producing Fulbright Student Scholars.