In the midst of a year when student groups have protested the high tuition costs of higher education, UW-Madison is the fifth-highest-valued public university in the country, according to a list released Monday by The Princeton Review.
According to The Princeton Review's website, it ranks universities' value by comparing undergraduate academics, financial aid and tuition cost.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Paul DeLuca said he was excited to see the university receive a top-10 ranking for the first time.
"We strive to provide an absolutely world class education in as cost-effective way as we can," DeLuca said. "And when you get a ranking like this, its recognition that maybe we are achieving that."
While DeLuca said the top 5 ranking is remarkable, he said the university could use its resources more efficiently if more students graduated within six years.
According to DeLuca, 84 percent of students graduate within six years, but he said he would like to see that number climb to 90 percent. He said this accomplishment would place the university in a class among elite private schools.
DeLuca said Chancellor David Ward's Initiative for Educational Innovation could help the university achieve this goal. The initiative, which aims to use university resources more efficiently, involves making more classes available during summer sessions and increasing mixed-media capabilities in classrooms.
Despite the university's high-ranking value, some groups, such as Occupy UW, have vigorously argued tuition is too high. However, DeLuca said even a 20-percent decrease in tuition would dramatically affect the quality of the students' education.
"I think it has always been a fact that if you want to have a virtually world-class education that's simply not free," he said. "Our goal is to make that affordable as possible for students."
The Chair of the Economics Department John Karl Scholz reflected DeLuca, saying that a university of UW-Madison's caliber cannot maintain a high academic level and lower tuition rates.
"It takes resources to be outstanding," Scholz said. "The money needed for that has to come from somewhere."