As tuition for four-year universities skyrockets, students and parents are eager to know which college will provide the biggest return on their investment. Considering the multitude of public institutions in the Sunshine State, Florida residents likely wonder if it is worth spending more to attend a private university like the University of Miami.
According to Niche's 2023 college rankings, UM is now ranked as the third-best college in Florida in terms of value. The school inched up a spot from 2022 and five spots from 2021, now trailing only the University of Florida and Florida State University in the value rankings.
To calculate the value of each university, Niche, a Pennsylvania-based ranking and review website, used student loan and earnings data from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Census Bureau in conjunction with alumni surveys.
"Even before the pandemic, high school students and their families were questioning the value of their higher education, in large part due to how expensive it's become in the past twenty years or so," Ryan Bell, principal strategist at Niche, said in a press release. "Our updates to our value methodology come at a time when prospective college students are more intent on choosing a school that will yield a good return on investment."
UM tuition currently costs about $55,440 a year. According to Niche, 28 percent of UM students take out loans. The average loan amount per year is $8,841, which is roughly $2,000 higher than the national average.
The university sits atop of the value rankings for Miami-area schools, just ahead of Florida International University and Nova Southeastern University. For the national value rankings, UM falls to 218 out of 1,498 universities nationwide.
Niche estimates median earnings for UM graduates land at $60,100 six years after graduation. That figure stands at $56,000 for University of Florida graduates, $46,400 for Florida State University graduates and $46,300 for Florida International University graduates, according to Niche's estimates.
Tuition for Florida public colleges is typically a fraction of the cost of UM's tuition. University of Florida tuition, for example, is $6,380 for in-state residents and approximately $28,650 for out-of-state residents.
Niche's rankings were released in the wake of President Joe Biden's decision to forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for borrowers who make less than $125,000 a year. Students who received Pell Grants with loans held by the Department of Education are eligible to receive $20,000 in loan forgiveness. Niche estimates 14 percent of UM students with financial aid receive Pell Grants whereas 19 percent receive federal grant aid.
In addition to tuition, UM students are tasked with finding a home in a city that is considered to be the "epicenter" of the nation's affordable housing crisis. According to the rental platform Zumper, the median rent for a one bedroom apartment in Miami is $2,500.
The average cost of college has more than doubled over the past two decades, with an annual inflation rate of 6.8 percent, according to Educationdata.org.
In its general rankings, Niche rated University of Florida as the top college in the state and 41st in the nation. UM finished second in Niche's general rankings for the Sunshine State. In the student life category, Florida State University was rated number one in the state and seventh in the nation behind schools such as the University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt.