If you are searching for “affordable colleges for out of state students,” then let me recommend a couple of sources of information that rank well using a brand new version of the Google Quality Rater Guidelines, which has just been released. Now, helping people find high-quality websites has always been important to Google, especially since the search engine rolled out the first of more than two dozen “Panda” updates to its algorithm back in February 2011. But Google also uses quality raters to double check their search engine results pages (SERPs). And it seems that Google is putting an even greater emphasis on Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) when rating the SERPS when use queries for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL). These are the queries that could impact a searcher’s future happiness, health or “financial stability.”
So, if I had just Googled “affordable colleges for out of state students,” which websites do I think have a very high level of Expertise, are highly Authoritative, and are highly Trustworthy?
One is U.S. News & World Report, an American media company that publishes news, opinion, consumer advice, rankings, and analysis. Founded as a news weekly magazine in 1933, U.S. News transitioned to primarily web-based publishing in 2010.
On Sept. 15, 2015, U.S. News published an article entitled, “10 Schools with the Lowest Out-of-State Tuition.” Written by Delece Smith-Barrow, an education reporter at U.S. News, the article identified public schools which keep tuition and fees especially low for out-of-state students.
Her article said, “Delta State University in Mississippi, for example, charges students from outside of Mississippi only $6,112 for the 2015-2016 school year – the same price in-state students pay. It had the lowest out-of-state tuition among 315 ranked public colleges and universities that submitted data to U.S. News.”
Below is a list of the 10 least expensive public institutions for out-of-state students for the 2015-2016 school year, according to U.S. News.
Another website that I think has a very high level of Expertise, is highly Authoritative, and is highly Trustworthy is Time Magazine. Time is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It was founded in 1923 and for decades was dominated by Henry Luce, who built a highly profitable stable of magazines.
On Aug. 9, 2015, Time.com/Money, published a story entitled, “This University Is Letting Out-of-State Students Pay In-State Tuition Prices.” Written by Ethan Wolff-Mann, a reporter at Time.com/Money, the story says that high school students in the Northeast or mid-Atlantic region have a new option when it comes to finding an affordable college.
His story says, “The University of Maine, in Orono (just north of Bangor), has announced that it will begin allowing non-Mainers to enroll and pay special in-state tuition rates. The offer represents an enormous discount for students who qualify. But the special tuition levels don’t apply to all out-of-staters. Qualifying students must be from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. Also, instead paying the same price as the in-state rates available to people from Maine, students from qualifying states will pay tuition that matches the levels of their home state flagship public university.”
If you search for “affordable colleges for out of state students,” Google ranks other websites highly, which should be a reflection of their Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. But, savvy students should reserve the same skepticism for high ranking websites that they don’t know that they’d give to directions from Google Maps to places they’ve never been before. That’s why the search engine has rolled out more than two dozen “Panda” updates to its algorithm since February 2011. And that’s why Google also uses quality raters to double check their SERPs. Although you can generally trust Google’s SERPs, you need to verify them yourself – especially if they impact your future happiness, health or “financial stability.”
(Greg Jarboe is the editor of The Advocate of Affordable College blog and the former editor of the Knowledge Transfer blog. He’s also the president and co-founder of SEO-PR, an instructor at the Rutgers Business School, the content marketing faculty chair at Market Motive, as well as the author of YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day.)