In an analysis of more than 500 four-year colleges and universities, Kiplinger's Personal Finance has created a list of the 100 "best values in public colleges."

"Despite rising tuition costs, there are still many first-rate institutions providing outstanding academics at an affordable price."

—Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger's

UC Santa Cruz, which opened with its first class of students just 45 years ago, is No. 69 on the "best values" list.

The Kiplinger special report ranked four-year campuses according to academic quality, including admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, and four- and six-year graduation rates; and on cost and the availability of financial aid. The list was released today.

"Despite rising tuition costs, there are still many first-rate institutions providing outstanding academics at an affordable price," said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger's. "Schools like these on the Kiplinger 100 list prove graduates can enter the workforce with a great education — and without a huge cloud of debt."

Founded in 1920, the Kiplinger company developed one of the nation's first widely circulated newsletters. The Kiplinger Letter, launched in 1923, remains the longest continuously published newsletter in the United States. Kiplinger's personal finance magazine was launched in 1947.