College students are taking their time to reach the finish line, which could be bad news for your family's savings account.
The November issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance lists four Florida colleges among the nation's best values in public higher education. The cost for in-state students is about $11,000 a year. But at each of the four, fewer than half the students graduate in four years or less.
The University of Florida in Gainesville and New College of Florida in Sarasota moved up in the value rankings this year, to fifth and sixth places, respectively. At UF, 38 percent of the students graduate in four years or less, and 31 percent more take five or six years. (The rest take longer or never finish.) At New College, 47 percent graduate in four years or less, and an additional 25 percent in five or six years.
Florida State University in Tallahassee (ranked 57th) and the University of Central Florida in Orlando (ranked 71st) also made the best-values list. Graduation rates at FSU are similar to those at UF. At UCF, which draws more commuters, they are much lower. Only 25 percent of students finished in four years or less.
The University of South Florida in Tampa dropped out of the value rankings this year. However, if your goal is to become a certified public accountant, USF stands out from the pack, according to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. USF accounting students, particularly those with advanced degrees, earn some of the top scores in the nation on the CPA exam.