Centre College is one of the nation’s best educational values according to a recently released ranking by Princeton Review. The annual listing of “150 Best Value Colleges” includes the top 75 public and private institutions that emphasize high academic standards, low tuition and ample financial aid.
The accolade echoes similar best value rankings again this year by U.S News & World Report, which ranked Centre #30 in the nation, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, which ranked Centre #22 in the nation.
Princeton Review began its 2014 ranking process by surveying data from 2,000 colleges across the nation for the 2012-13 academic year, looking for those schools that “do an exceptional job helping bright students earn a degree without going broke.” The selection process considered 30 different data points related to cost, aid and academics, along with student survey responses from the past three years about satisfaction with financial aid awards and the overall academic experience.
Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president and publisher, applauds the best value colleges “for their outstanding academics. Equally impressive,” he continues, “are their efforts to be affordable to students with need—either via comparatively low sticker prices, generous financial aid or both.”
Of the 75 top private colleges, Centre ranked #4 in the nation for lowest tuition, at $36,000 per year. This is nearly $10,000 less than the average tuition of $45,733 for schools on the Princeton Review best value list. In addition, the average grant to offset tuition, room and board for first-year students is $24,790.
“This ranking reflects Centre’s continuing commitment to be a place of high opportunity and high achievement,” says Centre President John A. Roush. “We encourage bright and diligent young men and women from all socioeconomic backgrounds to apply,” he adds, “and we work hard to meet their financial aid needs and help them succeed when they enroll.”
Nearly two-thirds of all Centre students qualify for need-based student financial aid and almost 20 percent are eligible for Pell Grants. The College’s four-year graduation rate regularly averages around 85 percent, and 97 percent of Centre’s most recent graduates are employed or pursuing advanced degrees within 10 months of completing their degree.
In addition, the Centre Commitment guarantees students an internship or research opportunity, study abroad experience and graduation in four years, provided the College’s academic and social expectations are met. If a student is unable to secure the components of the Centre Commitment within four consecutive years of enrollment, the College will provide up to an additional year of study tuition-free.
Centre is one of eight colleges in the South to appear on the Princeton Review ranking. The only other Kentucky institution to appear on the list is Berea College, one of four tuition-free institutions ranked as best values.
The Princeton Review “Best Value Colleges” publication is produced in cooperation with USA Today, which offers an interactive table with detailed information for all 150 public and private colleges.
Additional information can be found at: www.princetonreview.com/best-value-colleges.aspx.
By Michael Strysick