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Thomas Aquinas College Earns “Most Dramatic Jump” in U.S. News 2017 College Rankings for Academics and Value

September 14, 2016
10,000 Ojai Road
Santa Paula CA 93060
Contact: Anne Forsyth, Director of College Relations
(805) 525-4417      


Thomas Aquinas College Earns “Most Dramatic Jump” in U.S. News 2017 College Rankings for Academics and Value


SANTA PAULA, CA—September 14, 2016—In the newly released 2017 edition of its Best Colleges guide, U.S. News & World Report ranks Thomas Aquinas College in the top third of its top tier of National Liberal Arts Colleges. It also praises the 4-year, Catholic college for having “the most dramatic jump in the National Liberal Arts Colleges rankings.” Write the editors of U.S. News & World Report, “California’s Thomas Aquinas College…rose 29 spots from a tie at No. 82 to a tie at No. 53,” accounted for in part by a rise in retention and graduation rates.

The magazine also lists Thomas Aquinas College at No. 24 among the Top 40 in the country on its Great Schools, Great Prices list, and No. 11 among the top 25 national liberal arts colleges for “Least Debt” at graduation. Average debt among graduates of Thomas Aquinas College is $16,901 — roughly half the national average debt of $31,710. In addition, the college has a student loan default rate of only 1.2%, in contrast to the national average rate of 11.8%.

Lastly, U. S. News rates Thomas Aquinas College first in the country for the highest proportion of classes under 20 students (100 percent) and the lowest proportion of classes with more than 50 students (0 percent).

In discussing the basis for the “Best Value” ranking, U.S. News explains that it “takes into account a school’s academic quality…. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal.” It adds that “only schools in or near the top half of their U.S. News ranking categories are included because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that perform well academically.”

Says Thomas Aquinas College Director of Admissions Jon Daly, “While rankings only tell part of the story, we were certainly pleased with these from U.S. News. They point not only to the strength of the academic program — in terms of quality and class size — but also, importantly, to the reasonable tuition, room & board costs, and the strength and generosity of our need-based financial aid program. In these difficult economic times both students and parents need to be sure the investment they make in a college education is worthwhile. We are pleased to see that our college compares so favorably in the U.S. News rankings.”

The College has received high marks in the newest editions of all the top annual college guides, both Catholic and secular, including The Princeton Review and the National Catholic Register.

“Taken together with this report from U.S. News, these reviews offer parents and prospective students a fairly good idea of the strength of our unique program,” says Mr. Daly. “But a visit to the campus will also afford them the opportunity to observe our classes firsthand and to experience the joy students take in pursuing their studies in and outside of class.”

Adds President Michael F. McLean, “This year’s review from U.S. News, and the many others that rank Thomas Aquinas College highly, are strong indicators that an institution of higher learning can provide an excellent academic program at a competitive price while being fully faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

About Thomas Aquinas College

Thomas Aquinas College has developed a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad. At Thomas Aquinas College, there are no majors, no minors, or electives because all students acquire a broad and fully integrated liberal education. The College offers one 4-year, classical curriculum that spans the major arts and sciences. Instead of reading textbooks, students read the original works of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization — the Great Books — in all the major disciplines: mathematics, natural science, literature, philosophy, and theology. Rather than listening to lectures, they engage in rigorous Socratic discussions about these works in classes of 15-18 students. The academic life of the college is conducted under the light of the Catholic faith and flourishes within a close-knit community, supported by a vibrant spiritual life. Genuinely committed to upholding civic virtue and leading lives dedicated to the good of others, Thomas Aquinas College graduates enter a wide array of fields where they are a powerful force for good in the Church and in the culture. Well-versed in rational discourse, they become leaders in education, law, medicine, journalism, public policy, military service, and business. In addition, a steady 10% of alumni go on to the priesthood or religious life.