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Affordability, Access, Quality

Published January 26, 2017

The University at Buffalo has earned a ‘top 50’ ranking for the third straight year, according to U.S. News and World Report. The magazine’s 2017 Best Colleges Rankings, released Sept. 13, again named UB among the best universities in the country.  A UB education is an excellent value. As a public university, our tuition is only a fraction of the cost of attending a private college or university of comparable quality and opportunity. 

“At UB, we deliver academic excellence through exceptional educational opportunities and impactful research.”
Charles F. Zukoski, UB Provost and Executive Vice President

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This distinction places UB among the top public universities in the nation, ranking No. 43, up two places from last year’s No. 45. For the second straight year, the magazine also rated UB among the “top 100” national universities in the country, placing 99th.

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences also earned a top rating from U.S. News, ranking No. 63 among the nation’s best undergraduate engineering programs at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate. The School of Management rose to No. 77 from No. 80 out of more than 700 accredited schools, higher than any other business school in the SUNY system.

UB’s engineering and management schools ranked 38 and 48, respectively, when ranked among public universities.

“At UB, we are known for our innovative educational opportunities and impactful, cross-disciplinary research,” said Charles F. Zukoski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Our students learn from the top scholars in their fields in unique academic programs, travel the world and participate in research projects and cultural and community engagement activities. We are very pleased that our distinctive programs and commitment to excellence continue to be recognized by students, families and our broader community.”

U.S. News also rated UB among the best colleges for veterans, ranked No. 64 among national universities.

U.S. News based its rankings on an assessment of 1,374 of the country’s four-year colleges and universities, in addition to data reported to the U.S. Department of Education.  U.S. News targets a total of nine weighted measures to calculate an institution’s ranking. Key elements include undergraduate academic reputation, assessment by peers and counselors, student selectivity, retention and graduation rate performance.

The inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (WSG/THE) College Ranking of U.S. colleges and universities — based on data from Times Higher Education — places UB at No. 28 among the nation’s top public universities. UB is No. 130 among more than 1,000 private and public colleges and universities ranked by the WSJ/THE.  UB is rated highest — No. 1 — among SUNY institutions in the ranking.  Factors measured by the WSJ/THE College rankings include engagement, student outcomes and learning environments.

UB is rated among the top universities for international students, who make up 16 percent of the university’s student population. The 2015 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released by the Institute of International Education, placed UB among the top 20 U.S. institutions hosting international students for the 13th straight year.

UB’s Finish in 4 program, part of a comprehensive approach toward increasing graduation rates, has produced measurable results and earned UB national recognition.  

Of the 1,479 students who signed up for Finish in 4 in 2012, its inaugural year, some 930 — about 63 percent — graduated in May 2016, far exceeding the nation’s average four-year graduation rate of 34 percent for public institutions as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. Nearly 80 percent of UB’s incoming freshmen signed up for Finish in 4 this fall.

UB also was cited in a national study by The Education Trust as being among the universities that stand out for improving overall graduation rates while also achieving significant gains for black students during the past decade. UB¹s four-year graduation rate increased from 39 percent in 2007 to 55 percent in 2015, exceeding the national average of 36 percent and decreasing the cost in time and money needed to earn an undergraduate degree at UB -  see http://www.buffalo.edu/provost/oia/factbook/graduation-rate.html

Over the past five years, UB has directed revenue to initiatives that will directly benefit the student experience, including significant investments in facilities and academic programming. For example, UB has added new Undergraduate Academies in Entrepreneurship, Sustainability and Global Perspectives, to connect communities of students with similar interests, providing increased access to faculty expertise and enhancing real-world learning experiences.

“The U.S. News and World Report rankings are a testament to the excellent programs and services provided by faculty and staff across SUNY, and a reminder to our current and future students that SUNY is dedicated to providing them with a highly valuable degree that will serve them well long after graduation,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to the University at Buffalo on this much-deserved recognition.”

FAQ

Is UB tuition really affordable?

Among public institutions in the Association of American Universities, UB is among the lowest in cost of other AAU public universities.  Among public doctoral granting institutions in the Northeast, UB is also below the average cost.

Providing access to higher education is an important mission for UB.  Part of the revenue from tuition is used to provide financial aid for lower-income families through the New York State Tuition Assistance Program.  In addition, UB supports a generous merit- and need-based aid program which provides significant grant and scholarship funds to incoming freshmen - more than $14 million annually.    In 2015-2016, we administered more than $330 million in scholarships and aid to our students.

For the academic year 2015-2016:

  • The average undergraduate cost (tuition and fees) to students and families was $9,381.
  • About 64 percent of undergraduates received some financial aid.
  • 59 percent of first-time students received a grant or scholarship, with an average award of $5,840.

Additional information about Student Debt is available here:  Student Debt

What are the steps UB is taking to control costs?

In 2011, the State of New York established a predictable tuition plan for SUNY and CUNY campuses. The plan limits tuition increases for full-time in-state undergraduates, replacing an era of sudden tuition increases with a system that is predictable.  It also limits increases to tuition for out-of-state students.  UB supports an extension of the legislation, which includes a predictable tuition program.

What is UB doing to operate more efficiently?

The University at Buffalo has developed a strategic plan which directs revenues to initiatives which will positively impact the student experience by emphasizing academic quality, student success, and affordability.

In streamlining the delivery of academic and academic support services, UB has saved money, time and resources, empowering our faculty and staff to refocus those assets where they matter most—investing in academic and research achievement.

  • Savings Through IT Consolidation.  Consolidating 70 disparate phone systems into one centralized Voice over Internet Protocol phone (VoIP) system has saved the university $700,000. An additional $2.1 million was saved by standardizing workstation purchasing into a single procurement program.
  • Streamlining Student Access.  The new Student Information System is transforming how students access services throughout their academic career at UB. Students have one web site to register for courses, request transcripts, review financial aid and plan their academic career online.  
  • Customizing Student Data.  Academic departments are able to access institutional data to assist with planning and reporting. The UB Student Information System includes a new data warehouse that offers a variety of reports, as well as the opportunity to customize information for specific departments.
  • Improving Communications.  The Web Content Initiative is standardizing institutional branding and enhancing school branding and messaging, improving marketing, training, customer support and in-house university community communication.
  • Reorganizing HR Services.  The Human Resources Strategic Transformation reorganized campus-wide HR services from 61 points across the campus into three divisional units covering business services, student affairs and the academic enterprise.
  • Reducing Our Carbon Footprint.  The Environmental Stewardship Committee has created the first UB Climate Action Plan, implementing action items that reduce UB’s carbon footprint, increase environmental awareness, and conserve UB’s finite resources. 

What is the quality of a UB education?

UB is committed to providing an excellent education to its undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

The University at Buffalo has earned a “top 50” rating among public universities for the third straight year, according to U.S. News and World Report. UB earned distinction as one of the top public universities in the nation, ranking No. 43, up two places from last year’s No. 45. For the second straight year, the magazine also rated UB among the “top 100” national universities in the country, placing 99th. U.S. News bases its rankings on an assessment of 1,400 of the country’s four-year colleges and universities.

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences also earned a top rating from U.S. News, ranking No. 63 among the nation’s best undergraduate engineering programs at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate. The School of Management rose to No. 77 from No. 80 out of more than 700 accredited schools, higher than any other business school in the SUNY system. UB’s engineering and management schools ranked 38 and 48, respectively, when ranked among public universities.

The inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (WSG/THE) College Ranking of U.S. colleges and universities — based on data from Times Higher Education — places UB at No. 28 among the nation’s top public universities. UB is No. 130 among more than 1,000 private and public colleges and universities ranked by the WSJ/THE.  UB is rated highest — No. 1 — among SUNY institutions in the ranking.

Factors measured by the WSJ/THE College rankings include engagement, student outcomes and learning environments. UB scored particularly high in the engagement and learning environment categories — two areas in which the university has made substantial investments to enrich students’ academic experience.

In the outcomes category, UB’s WSJ/THI rating was based on such factors as the value added to salaries earned by the university’s graduates; loan repayment rates by UB graduates; the university’s academic reputation, based on total votes received for teaching excellence in the rankings’ academic reputation survey; and improved graduation rates.

UB has recently (2014) been reaccredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and has maintained that accreditation since 1921.  UB’s accreditation is driven principally by three important considerations:

  • Clear evidence of institutional integrity and effectiveness at all levels of decision-making in furtherance of the university’s core educational purpose,
  • Demonstrable educational effectiveness embedded in an ongoing system for continuous improvement in educational outcomes,
  • Evidence of continuing fiscal soundness as reflected in sustained institutional access to federal funds (Title IV student financial aid).

What can be done so that more students graduate in four years?

UB’s Finish in 4 program, part of a comprehensive approach toward increasing graduation rates, has produced measurable results and earned UB national recognition.  

UB launched its Finish in Four program in 2012, which has contributed to significant improvements to the university’s undergraduate four-year completion percentage. The program provides students with enhanced support throughout their entire undergraduate career, helping them to achieve their degree in a timely manner. 

Of the 1,479 students who signed up for Finish in 4 in 2012, its inaugural year, some 930 — about 63 percent — graduated in May 2016, far exceeding the nation’s average four-year graduation rate of 34 percent for public institutions as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. Nearly 80 percent of UB’s incoming freshmen signed up for Finish in 4 this fall.

UB also was cited in a national study by The Education Trust as being among the universities that stand out for improving overall graduation rates while also achieving significant gains for black students during the past decade.

UB¹s four-year graduation rate increased from 39 percent in 2007 to 55 percent in 2015, exceeding the national average of 36 percent and decreasing the cost in time and money needed to earn an undergraduate degree at UB -  see http://www.buffalo.edu/provost/oia/factbook/graduation-rate.html

UB’s Finish in 4 initiative asks students to follow an academic roadmap for on-time graduation in exchange for UB's promise that it will offer enough classes to make it possible to earn a degree in four years.  

First-time, full-time freshman at UB can sign a pledge to do their part to graduate in four years, including keeping up their grades, routinely meeting with their advisers and making school a priority over their work schedule.  In turn, the university ensures students get the access to the advisement and required courses needed to graduate in four years.  If students fulfill their obligations, but still don’t graduate on time, they’ll be able to complete the required courses for graduation free of charge.

How does room and board compare to other Western New York colleges?

UB room and board costs are lower than other 4-year degree-granting institutions in the Western New York region.

For 2016-17, according to U.S. News and World Report, the average cost for room and board among the following 4-year degree-granting institutions is $12,410

  • D’Youville College: $$11,570 (2016-17)
  • University at Buffalo: $12,292  (2016-17)
  • SUNY Buffalo State: $12,404  (2015-16)
  • Daemen College: $12,425  (2016-17)
  • Medaille College:  $12,460   (2015-16)
  • Niagara University: $12,700  (2016-17)
  • Canisius College: $13,022  (2016-17)

What is the estimated total cost to attend UB?

The semester tuition and fees charges are available on the Tuition and Fees Web page.  The UB Financial Aid website provides an estimated annual budget based on fall and spring semester attendance - Housing and board allowances, books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation figures are estimates that vary for each student. 

2016-2017: Undergraduate Cost of Attendance

Please Note: The tables represent estimated academic year costs for financial aid and budgeting purposes. The actual semester tuition and fees charges are available on the Tuition and Fees Web page