Thanks to the University of Wyoming’s low student to teacher ratio, low student debt and high earnings for graduates, Wyoming earned a spot among the top 10 best states for higher education.

The website SmartAsset ranked Wyoming as No. 7 on its list “The Best States for Higher Education in 2017.” UW was given a ranking of “A-“,  due to small class sizes, the relatively low cost of attendance at $12,148 a year and an extremely high return on investment – which has even increased since being measured last year.

According to the report, graduates get an average return on investment of $442,000 within a 20-year time span, which is the fifth-highest ROI in the nation and is 15.3 percent higher than what the study found in the 2016 edition of the analysis.

UW Spokesman Chad Baldwin said the criteria used in the report matched with UW's strengths and played a part in the university ranking so highly.

"Our cost of attendance is low, our students graduate with little to no debt and the jobs they find after graduating allow them to make good returns," Baldwin said.

Baldwin said if a study used different ranking values such as exclusive admission UW may not rank so well, but the university's strengths provide what students, in and out of state, are looking for.

"These things are what really matter," Baldwin said.

Baldwin said UW will absolutely be able to provide low-tuition and small class sizes even while facing mounting budget cuts.

"A tuition increase is going to take place this fall, but our tuition will still be the lowest for in-state graduates in the region," Baldwin said.

Baldwin also said the student to faculty ratio will also experience an increase, but should also remain low.

The university is grappling with $40 million in budget cuts. UW lost tens of millions of dollars in state funding during the two-year budget cycle, due to the decline in the energy sector. In the past year alone, the school announced more than $29 million in reductions.

Wyoming was preceded in the list by Virgina, which ranked first, followed by California, Delaware, Iowa and New Jersey and North Carolina, who tied for 5th place.

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