By Miguel Gonzalez
The College ranked 35th nationally and second in New Jersey on MONEY Magazine’s 727 “Best Colleges in America,” which was published on Aug. 13.
Behind only Princeton University, the College placed higher among public institutions, ranking 23rd nationally and reigning first in New Jersey.
MONEY magazine based its rankings upon “educational quality, affordability and alumni success.”
According to the magazine, students at the College had an average debt of $23,000. Earlier in 2018, MONEY magazine reported that college graduates under 35 have an average student debt of $32,900.
In terms of affordability, 39 percent of students in need at the College received grants, while students paid an estimated price of $24,100 with grants.
College Spokesman Dave Muha sees the importance of MONEY Magazine’s rankings and its impression on prospective students and their parents.
“I think the MONEY ranking is especially meaningful because of what it attempts to measure — academic quality, affordability and outcomes,” Muha said. “These are three things that probably matter most to students and their parents. The College has invested carefully in the academic program and student experience to deliver an exceptionally high-quality education.”
Muha also attributes the College’s success to its dedication to undergraduate research and use of new state-of-the-art facilities.
“New facilities like the STEM Building are certainly part of that, but so too has been the College’s focus on things like mentored undergraduate research and the faculty’s commitment to the teacher-scholar model,” Muha said.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Elizabeth Bapasola owes the College’s success to student efforts.
“Our students help build our College’s strong reputation in a number of ways,” Bapasola said. “These include, but are not limited to, organizing outstanding campus events, actively participating in our governance process to voice the student perspective, excelling in athletics and demonstrating leadership through peer education and peer mentoring.”
The magazine reported that the College’s alumni garner an average of $54,400 in early career earnings, which is only a small decrease from the College’s Class of 2017.
According to the Career Center’s Class of 2017 first year out survey report, which accounted for 1,024 out of 1,417 graduates, the College’s Class of 2017 graduates had an average salary of $56,200. The College’s Class of 2017 has also seen success in being admitted to top graduate schools.
Muha sees a bright future as the College continues to build its reputation among regional and national peers.
“I look forward to watching the reputation of the College continue to grow,” Muha said. “In four of the last five years, the College has set new records for the number of applications received. I think that speaks to a growing recognition that TCNJ delivers a high quality, affordable education that translates to continued success beyond graduation.