Longwood University has for the fourth consecutive year been included as one of the best colleges in the United States in the annual survey published by Forbes magazine.

The list of 650 undergraduate institutions, compiled with research from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, is based on 12 factors that measure the quality of the education each school provides, the experiences of its students and the achievements of its graduates.

The factors include student satisfaction, post-graduation success, debt, four-year graduation rate and nationally competitive awards.

"We’re not all that interested in what gets a student into college, like our peers who focus heavily on selectivity metrics such as high-school class rank and SAT scores. Our sights are set directly on [return on investment]: What are students getting out of college," said Forbes staff writer Caroline Howard. The rankings can be viewed at www.forbes.com/top-colleges.

Longwood also has been included in a new ranking of top Virginia colleges for return on investment by AffordableCollegesOnline.org (AC Online). "AC Online: Highest Return on Investment Colleges in Virginia" (http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/online/virginia) identifies the schools that offer a "high-quality education with consistent, long-term payoffs in the workplace," said the organization, which used data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System, the Carnegie Foundation and PayScale.com’s 2013 College Earnings Report.

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