For the third year in a row, Centre College has been included on the Money magazine “50 Most Affordable Private Colleges” list, coming in at #22 in the nation.
This puts Centre just behind top colleges and universities like Grinnell, Princeton, Rice and Harvard, but ahead of Amherst, Yale, Vanderbilt, Stanford, MIT and Pomona.
“These high quality private schools score best for affordability,” according to Money. To even be considered for this list, ranked schools needed to fall in at least the top half of the 2016 overall “Best Colleges” list.
That ranking is based on the nation’s roughly 2,000 four-year colleges and universities that Money narrowed down to a list of 705 by screening for poor graduation rates, financial difficulties or colleges with less than 500 students. Twenty-four factors were then applied, divided into three basic categories: educational quality, affordability and alumni success.
From that list of 705, Money then looked at generous financial aid packages, lower-than-average tuition or a combination of both to find colleges with below-average costs. In addition, writes Money, “these colleges tend not to load students or parents up with burdensome debts.”
Student feedback is included in Centre’s ranking profile, offering qualitative feedback to the otherwise dry quantitative data.
“Professors here are amazing,” one student writes. “They love their jobs, love their students, love having office hours and more. You know that you can always go and talk to them because their doors are always open. They care about your overall success.”
Another student, looking beyond graduation, writes, “The value of a Centre College degree is extremely high. Centre alumni are very well respected and are in major positions doing big things all across the globe.” The student ends by affirming, “Having a degree from here is definitely an advantage that no one should pass up if given the opportunity.”
After referring to Centre College as a “wonderful, intriguing place, full of people who want to learn and want to help you learn,” another student concludes, “If I had to do it all again, I would pick Centre in a heartbeat.”
Money is not alone in ranking Centre so high in terms of return on investment. Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and U.S. News all agree, and have done so year after year.
In a related ranking, Centre is #7 in the nation on Money’s “50 Best Private Colleges for Merit Aid” list.
To be considered, colleges must have average merit grants of at least $6,000 a year awarded to a minimum 20 percent of its students. Not only do 38 percent of Centre students receive merit-based aid, according to figures used for Money’s ranking, but also 58 percent receive some form of need-based aid.
Data is drawn from the U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s (one of the most comprehensive college guides), PayScale.com (for early career earnings information) and Money’s own calculations.
by Michael Strysick
July 13, 2016