Money magazine ranks Centre College #18 in nation on “most affordable” list

Posted by Centre News in News, Rankings 18 Aug 2014

campus trees fallAs families continue to evaluate the cost and value of a college education, especially a private one, Money magazine has joined the rankings game in partnership with its parent company, Time magazine. The question they ask is simple: “Which of the nation’s roughly 1,500 four-year colleges and universities provide the biggest bang for the tuition buck”?

After all the calculations were done, Centre College came in at #18 in the nation on Money’s “most affordable” list.

To be considered, Centre first had to make the list of Money’s 665 top-ranked private colleges, which alone involved analysis of 18 factors in three categories that looked at educational quality, affordability (including loan debt load) and career outcomes. From there, Money then calculated those schools where earning a degree typically costs the least.

This ranking comes as no surprise to John A. Roush, now beginning his 17th year as Centre’s president. Combining strong academics and affordability has been his goal ever since arriving in 1998. During this tenure, student institutional aid has grown dramatically, from $6.4 million to $24.6 million, a 280 percent increase. Institutional aid for this year’s incoming class is estimated at $25 million. At the same time, Centre has been an outlier among private colleges by keeping its annual tuition increase at or below three percent for the last several years.

“A Centre education will seek to remain affordable for those who meet our academic qualifications and seek an education that will prepare them for an extraordinary life of work and service,” says Roush. “Our college community is committed to remaining a place of high achievement and high opportunity.”

The Money magazine ranking echoes the “best value” accolades that Centre has received elsewhere.

In its most recent rankings, for instance, U.S. News & World Report rated Centre #30 in the nation for best value among liberal arts colleges, Kiplinger’s rated Centre #22 on its “best values in private colleges” list and Princeton Review also included Centre in its “best value colleges” ranking.

Another factor that works to the College’s favor in value rankings is the Centre Commitment, created over a dozen years ago to guarantee graduation in four years, a study abroad experience, and a research or internship opportunity, provided a student meets academic and social expectations.

Centre students take advantage of these guarantees in large numbers.

Recent graduation rates were 86 percent, which far exceeds the national average. In fact, Centre calculates four-year graduation rates, not the six-year rates used in most methodologies such as that of Money magazine. The additional years many students require to complete their degrees at large public universities often eliminates any sticker price difference. This reality, combined with generous aid packages that often level costs with public universities, helps Centre earn its “most affordable” honor.

Centre students study abroad at about the same rate as well, some 86 percent, and 81 percent of Centre students participate in an internship or research experience.

All these factors result in impressive outcomes upon graduation, with 96 percent of Centre students finding themselves employed or pursuing an advanced degree within ten months after completing their degrees.

by Michael Strysick

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