College ranked 19th for best value in public schools

The College rose through the ranks to be named 19th for in-state students in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s top 100 best values among public colleges country-wide.

Kiplinger’s Web site explains that over 500 schools nationwide were considered for this list, and they were ranked based on cost, quality and availability of financial aid, as well as each college’s overall academic strength.

These were further narrowed into such categories as freshman retention rate, average debt held by graduates of the college and student-to-faculty ratio.

Of the categories, those that represented overall academic strength carried the most weight, and counted for nearly two-thirds of the criteria for a college’s rank.

According to Matt Golden, director of communications and media relations, the College did very well to achieve such a high rank in the list, as it has had to compete alongside far larger colleges that have many more students and receive more state aid for their programs.

“To finish in the top 20 is a noteworthy accomplishment,” he said.

Golden partly attributes the College’s high ranking to the fact that despite a rise in tuition costs at public schools statewide, the inflation of tuition costs at the College has been kept to a minimum.

As the financial crisis in the state has lowered funding to the College, officials have worked to minimize the burden that falls on students.

Keeping costs as low as possible while still allowing the College’s programs to retain a high level of quality has been the main issue, which Golden refers to as a “delicate balancing act.”

“We worked very hard to keep our budget as austere as possible,” Golden said. “We try to defray tuition costs from the students.”

Kiplinger’s also ranked the College as fourth-best value in public colleges for out-of-state students, a category in which the increase in costs for out-of-state students was weighted in deciding a college’s rank.

The list was based on four-year traditional colleges, and did not factor in specialized schools or those with special requirements, such as the Naval Academy, which requires students to serve in the military after they graduate.

Golden said that he expects the College to continue to rise through the ranks of the academic world as the standards for new students and the number of applicants increase each year.

The College has also recently been recognized as one of the top 75 most competitive schools according to Barron’s 2005 ranking, and the top school in the North in the category “Top Universities – Master’s” according to a U.S. News and World Report survey.

According to Golden, the College’s high rankings in national surveys show how the College is becoming one of the best public schools in the nation.

“We are now ranked with the best of the best,” Golden said.