Smart Money: K-State Tops Money Magazine Best Kansas Educational Value List for Fourth Year In A Row

Anderson Hall - Kansas State University
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Courtesy of Kansas State University

MANHATTAN — Kansas State University is again being recognized as the top university value in Kansas by Money magazine.

It’s the fourth year in a row that K-State is the highest-ranking Kansas school on Money’s list, which was developed to find schools that successfully combine quality and affordability. The magazine rates schools on factors dealing with quality of education, affordability and student outcomes.

K-State’s average starting salary of $51,600 for new graduates leads all Kansas schools on Money’s list. In fact, per the university’s latest post-graduation survey, 96% of new K-State graduates are employed or continuing their education six months after their graduation.

The Money rankings come on the heels of the survey by SmartAsset, a financial technology company, that also found K-State as the state’s top educational value. And a third national survey, The Princeton Review’s recently released “America’s Best 385 Colleges,” finds K-State is one of the best in the nation for student-centered services. According to the survey, K-State is No. 2 in the nation for best quality of life, town-gown relations and health services. The university is No. 3 nationally for happiest students and for students who love their college, and No. 7 for best-run colleges and for athletic facilities.

“These latest rankings by Money magazine, SmartAsset and the Princeton Review all agree: K-State is a great place to get the quality education needed for a successful career,” said Charles Taber, provost and executive vice president. “At K-State, we make it easy to find a career you’ll love by offering more than 250 academic options. And we make education affordable by awarding more than $248 million in student aid annually, including more than $42 million in scholarships.”

Award-winning faculty and key student services, such as K-State First, the university’s first-year student success program, and the Career Center, which last year brought more than 800 global employers to campus to interview students about jobs and internships, are just a few of the ways K-State helps students stay on track to degree completion and be career-ready once they graduate.

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.