Houston's Rice University which has one faculty member for every nine students tops Money magazine's survey of America's 100 best college buys, which omitted Kansas University for the second year in a row.
But a KU official today disputed the notion that KU is not one of the top 100 educational buys among U.S. colleges and universities.
"It's one of those things ratings are subjective," said Tom Hutton, acting director of university relations.
"It is my understanding that Money magazine is using a statistical formula where numbers are plugged in and ratings are developed," he said. "We frequently don't fall into those analyses."
THE MAGAZINE'S third annual Money Guide says Rice's $1.25 billion endowment, the fifth largest per student in U.S. higher education in 1991, and its $8,825 annual tuition, kept it No. 1 on the list for the second year in a row.
The cost of an education is becoming a bigger factor for students deciding where to attend school, Money says. Last year, 28 percent of college freshmen said low tuition was an important reason for choosing a school, up from 21 percent four years ago, the magazine said.
Rice's strong programs in architecture, business, engineering and science also made it stand out as one of America's best education bargains, according to the guide, which goes on sale Monday.
In ranking the schools, Money used 16 factors, including student-to-faculty ratio, average Scholastic Aptitude Tests, default rate on student loans, graduation rate, student services budgets, and alumni business success based on Standard & Poor's Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives.
Hutton said that although KU also is a bargain financially, he said using a statistical analysis may have taken the university off the top 100 schools in Money's rankings because of factors that are not considered at KU.
For example, KU does not require Scholastic Aptitude Tests and Kansas is the only state in the nation that allows open admissions to graduates of its in-state high school.
"If you score zero on one of five criteria, it's pretty tough to rebound," Hutton said.
The other schools in this year's top 10 Money best buys were: New College of the University of South Florida, Sarasota, Fla.; University of Washington; Hanover College, Hanover, Ind.; California Institute of Technology; Trenton State College, Trenton, N.J.; Georgia Institute of Technology; Rutgers College, New Brunswick, N.J.; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and New Mexico Tech, Socorro, N.M.
Hutton said that in other surveys that do not use a statistical analysis, KU's ranking is much higher.
He cited KU's four-star ranking this year in the Fiske Guide to Colleges.
Also, he said KU is ranked in the top 101 universities in a new survey, "The College Choice Report," to be released in October. The book is published by the Center for Studies in College Enrollment and Tuition Issues.