It comes as no surprise that the Buffalo region has some of the best college values in the nation. But it is nice that a new U.S. News & World Report survey has once again confirmed that fact. It provides more tangible evidence for potential new residents and out-of-town businesses to locate here.

Among those listed as “best value:” Alfred University ranked No. 3, followed by St. Bonaventure, No. 5: Canisius College, No. 7; and Niagara University, No. 12.

The University at Buffalo ranked No. 9 among universities in the nation for students graduating with the least amount of debt. UB, which has been anywhere from No. 106 last year and No. 124 in 2004 on the list of “best colleges,” this year tied for No. 109 on the list of major public and private institutions in the nation.

The survey shows once again that this area has some of the best educational institutions in the nation when it comes to quality education and tuition affordability. And when factoring in the level of financial support this region’s colleges and universities can help students leverage, it makes for a great bargain in tough times.

The U.S. News & World Report survey does have its critics, who have questioned the meaningfulness of the ranking. But the fact that parents and students take a serious look at this list in making college choices makes it relevant.

The cost of attending college has risen astronomically – past 250 percent in the past three decades. Financial access to higher education has become a dividing line between the haves and have nots.

Crippling college costs have gotten the attention of Washington. President Obama recently came to Buffalo touting his ideas to slow the rising tuition tide.

As this page stated at the time, his proposals are worth considering, including a system that allows students and their parents to compare graduation rates along with college costs. Schools failing that litmus test would lose federal aid. The president also wants to ease the debt burden by capping student loan repayments at 10 percent of a student’s income in a “Pay-As-You-Earn” program.

Many different methods will have to be employed if this country is to get a handle on rising tuition costs. It is good to know that there are institutions of higher education in our own back yard being recognized for delivering on much-needed value.