Santa Paula, California — In the 2006 edition of America's Best Colleges published last week by U.S. News & World Report (U.S. News), Thomas Aquinas College was again ranked among the top 104 liberal arts colleges in the country. Thomas Aquinas College is one of only four Catholic colleges in the country to be ranked in this "top colleges" category, along with the College of the Holy Cross, St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict. Of the new Catholic liberal arts colleges founded in the United States in the past 35 years, Thomas Aquinas College is the only one to have been ranked as a "top college" by U.S. News. Ranking in this highest category is based on a variety of criteria including SAT scores, class size, retention rates, peer assessment, graduation rates and alumni giving.
Thomas Aquinas College was also ranked first of all liberal arts colleges in the nation, Catholic and secular, for the highest percentage of classes under 20 students-100%. Further, the college is one of only four Catholic liberal arts colleges in the country to be ranked in the "least debt" category, which measures the average amount of debt incurred by students.
In addition, U.S. News has again named Thomas Aquinas College a "best value" among all liberal arts colleges, explaining that category as follows: "The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal. Only schools ranked in the top half of their categories are included, on the premise that the most significant values are among colleges that are above average academically." In this category, Thomas Aquinas College ranked 37th. It is the only Catholic college in the country included in the top 40.