Kiplinger’s again names Centre College among nation’s best educational values

Posted by Centre News in News, Rankings 18 Dec 2014

lucas_mark_classroomCentre College has once again earned a top ranking on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance annual listing of the best value schools in the U.S., a distinction the College has held for nine consecutive years.

Focusing its criteria on academic quality and affordability, Kiplinger’s ranks Centre #32 among the nation’s private liberal arts colleges. When compared against all colleges and universities in the publication’s first-ever combined list of the 300 top-value public and private schools, the College is ranked #56 overall and #10 in the South.

According to Kiplinger’s, institutions like Centre that make repeat appearances on their lists are those colleges that “consistently deliver” by combining outstanding academics with affordable cost.

“This distinction reinforces the College’s longstanding commitment to provide students with a high-quality education at an excellent value, believing that quality and affordability can go hand-in-hand,” says John A. Roush, president of Centre College. “At a time when many are giving more careful consideration to college decisions in the face of rising educational costs, this nod of recognition from Kiplinger’s demonstrates that we are staying true to course.”

With an average 96 percent of Centre students employed or in advanced study within 10 months of graduation, Roush is also quick to emphasize the College’s exceptional return on investment.

“The extraordinary success of our students is a testament to the value of a liberal arts education—particularly, a Centre College education,” he adds. “Across all measures, Centre’s standing as a place of high achievement is affirmed, as is our earned reputation as one of the nation’s best educational values.”

Kiplinger’s attributes Centre’s top ranking to the College’s low average student debt at graduation, high levels of financial aid, low student-faculty ratio, and high four-year graduation rate.

To arrive at this ranking, Kiplinger’s assesses two key measures: quality, accounting for 56.25 percent of the overall score, and cost, at 43.75 percent.

For the former category, quality includes competitiveness (25 percent), graduation rates (18.75) and academic support (12.5). For the latter, cost and financial aid (31.25 percent) and student indebtedness (12.5) are calculated.

Centre’s emphasis on affordability is clearly demonstrated through the College’s need-based aid and merit scholarship programs, among the most generous of any top national college.

Based on figures used for this ranking, Centre awarded an average $24,278 in aid packages, with approximately 90 percent of first-year students receiving aid. According to Financial Aid Director Kevin Lamb, the most recent incoming class received average aid awards of $29,897, part of the College’s overall annual institutional aid totaling more than $25 million. At the same time, Centre maintains its commitment to keep annual cost increases at or below 3 percent.

Of the top 35 schools on Kiplinger’s private liberal arts colleges list, only five have a total cost per year less than $50,000, including Centre at #32. In fact, the College’s comprehensive fee per year is nearly $10,000 less than the average cost of $57,443 represented by the top-35 listing.

Learn more about Kiplinger’s 2015 Best Value Colleges, featured in the publication’s February issue on newsstands Jan. 6, 2015.

by Amy Clark Wise