The University placed third in a set of rankings that reflects President Barack Obama’s criteria for affordability in higher education.

The report, released by Affordable Colleges Online, serves as a response the Obama administrations’s proposed plan to make federal funding focus on “making college a smart long-term investment for everyone,” according to the website.

The ranking’s methodology considered the net price of tuition and fees subtracted by scholarship money provided per capita, student loan default rate, graduation rate, the breadth and depth of student services and starting salaries for graduates.

In August, Obama proposed the new set of criteria for determining federal funding for higher-education institutions. The plan is to reward institutions for offering the greatest value and opportunities for student success after graduation.

The University placed behind the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which ranked first second, respectively. The University’s average starting salary of $51,300 ranked above the two schools and its average net price of attendance is calculated as being $14,074.

Just as at the national level, the issue of college affordability sits at the forefront of concerns for University administrators, especially during the presidential search process.

At University President Mary Sue Coleman’s annual leadership breakfast Tuesday, she reiterated the fundraising goals of the upcoming development campaign, Victors for Michigan. With a $1-billion goal for student aid, raising money to lower the cost of attendance is the campaign’s main focus.

“We must provide the financial support to make a Michigan education possible for more students,” Coleman said Tuesday. “These are the campaign goals: engaged learning, bold ideas and, most importantly, the number one priority is student support.”

University tuition has risen over the past decade due to declining state appropriation. While Coleman has completed her tenure amid national economic turmoil, tuition has raised from $7,484 to $12,948 for in-state residents and $23,198 to $40,198 for non-residents between 2002 and 2013

“Higher education is the single most important investment students can make in their futures, and U of M is the place where they can invest, achieve and not be set back by financial burdens,” Coleman said.

In a September. interview, University Provost Martha Pollack said affordability is a primary concern in the coming years. Although Coleman will leave her position in July, Pollack said she hopes the new president will continue to lead efforts towards cost containment with the help from current administrators working towards keeping the University as affordable as possible.

“I think we have a good team in place to keep on pushing, and I’m very optimistic that the new president will have support for where she needs to handle these challenges,” Pollack said.

Clarification Appended: The headline has been changed to more accurately reflect the University’s place in the ranking system.

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