A new ranking of college affordability gives 49 of the 50 states F’s. But while there’s no doubt that college has gotten painfully expensive, a closer look at the data behind the numbers shows there are still some educational bargains out there. For example, the report showed that students in Tennessee pay, on average, the least for a year of college—just 13 percent of their families’ income, according to “Measuring Up 2008: The National Report Card on Higher Education,” the study released today by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. In some cases, of course, students get what they pay for. Some of the low-cost schools don’t perform well on standard measures such as graduation rates and consequently are not highly rated in U.S. News‘s “America’s Best Colleges” rankings. But parents in states such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina have the opportunity to send their children to highly ranked public universities without beggaring themselves.

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