This is what I'd like to know. Also it really IS all about geographic area. Sometimes locals and their perceptions are VASTLY different than what you see in other areas. Just as an example (and please no one get mad at me!), around here in MI, U of P is considered a joke as is ITT Tech, Devry, and to a much smaller extent, Baker. Degrees from those places are NOT even close to worth what they charge per credit, however in plenty of parts in the US those are considered ok schools. It may be worth it in those areas. As far as state schools, Eastern Mich used to be a joke (like, seriously anyone with a pulse could get in there!) and they were cheap. Now it's expensive, harder to get into than Michigan State, and considered a GOOD school. Although, all this could be because of our extremely strange and messed up state economy. Competition for any job is very fierce and people here with PhDs are trying to fight for adjunct jobs and work corporate to pay bills.