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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — If you and your college-bound teen are looking for the best deal for school, you don’t need to look far.

Christie Ileto explains how one local university is being considered a steal.

It’s a deal senior Pete Volk says he had to take.

“When I realized I would get in-state tuition here–which made it about half as expensive–I realized that this was the way I had to go,” Volk said.

Volk, like thousands of other in-state University of Maryland students, is taking advantage of the best deal for his education.

And finance forecaster Kiplinger just ranked the College Park campus as the fifth best value among public colleges.

“It was pretty much the only affordable option for me,” said student Megan Eden.

The rankings are based on graduation rates and annual costs for students. Maryland’s in-state tuition costs around $8,000, while students foot a pricier bill, averaging $39,000 for an out-of-state or private school’s tuition.

“Parents want to make sure they can afford to send their kids to a college, know they’re going to get a good education and still eat, too,” said Shannon Gundy, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Maryland College Park.

University of Maryland College Park has been climbing the ranks in this category. In 2008, it was #28 but it’s been holding steady at #5 since 2011. Even though tuition went up three percent from last school year, administrators say their rates are an affordable deal.

“We have professors and faculty that are doing amazing things and we have a cost that make it an affordable place for students to attend school,” said Gundy.

“I’m from Maryland and Maryland was definitely the first option for me,” said one student.

And that’s a top spot the university hopes to stay at, while offering prospective students a deal they can’t overlook.

Other area schools also made the list, including Towson, which ranked 76th.

While the University of Maryland made Kiplinger’s top 10 list for best value schools, it did not make the top 10 list of the Princeton Review.

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