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Thomas Aquinas College Soars to
“Top Ten” in Annual Kiplinger Rankings

December 16, 2016
10,000 Ojai Road
Santa Paula CA 93060
Contact: Anne Forsyth, Director of College Relations
(805) 525-4417      


Thomas Aquinas College Soars to “Top Ten” in Annual Kiplinger Rankings

High Marks for Quality and Affordability


SANTA PAULA, CA—December 16—A perennial top performer in Kiplinger Personal Finance’s annual college rankings, Thomas Aquinas College has jumped several spots this year — into the Top 10 Best Values in U.S. Colleges, or as the magazine describes it, “the crème de la crème” of its newly published guide, Top 300 Best College Values of 2017.

“Thomas Aquinas College’s sticker price — which is about half that of many private colleges on our best values list — and generous financial aid awards propel this pint-sized, Catholic liberal arts college up 15 places on this year’s combined best values list,” writes Kiplinger. The magazine ranks the College No. 7 in the country among all colleges and universities, up from No. 22 in 2016, and No. 4 among private, liberal arts schools — an eight-point leap from its No. 12 ranking last year.

“With our rankings — which weigh affordability alongside academic quality — our goal is to help students and their parents understand what’s really worth the price,” says Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. “All 300 schools on the list are of extraordinary value, being chosen out of a universe of 1,200.”

“Thomas Aquinas combines a classic curriculum with a religious emphasis that adheres to the morals and traditions of the Catholic Church,” the authors write. “A tuition freeze that has been in place since the 2013-14 academic year and will continue through at least the 2017-18 academic year has kept the school’s annual sticker price, including room and board, from climbing. And yet few families will pay the sticker price,” the story explains, as more than 70 percent of the College’s students receive need-based financial aid.

Emphasizing value but weighing quality measures more heavily than cost, Kiplinger restricts its analysis to measurable standards of academic quality and affordability. To gauge academic quality, the editors look at admission rates, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, student-faculty ratios, and four-year graduation rates. In determining affordability, Kiplinger considers sticker prices, financial aid, average debt at graduation, and students’ median earnings 10 years post-graduation.

“We are gratified to see our rankings, which were already strong, climb into the top echelon on the Kiplinger list,” says Thomas Aquinas College Director of Admissions Jon Daly. “It is an encouraging sign that we are succeeding in our efforts to maintain a truly excellent program of Catholic liberal education that is affordable for all families.”

Since its founding, Thomas Aquinas College has maintained a policy of never turning away a student on the basis of financial need. It also currently caps student debt at $18,000 over four years. “We are deeply grateful to the College’s many generous benefactors who, through their gifts, provide the financial aid that allows our students to attend the College without taking on exorbitant levels of debt,” adds Mr. Daly. “This latest ranking, as well as many others, is a testament to the loyalty and generosity of our donors.”

In addition to the high rankings from Kiplinger, the College has earned top marks from other secular guides, including the Princeton ReviewACTA, and U.S. News & World Report, as well as Catholic publications such as the Cardinal Newman Society college guide and the National Catholic Register.

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.

Suzie Jackson (’15)

“The texts we are reading ask the fundamental questions in life, which every human person needs to be able to answer. You want to answer these questions, and you experience the beauty of wonder in discussing them.”

– Suzie Jackson (’15)

Manassas, Va.


“Thomas Aquinas College is a paragon of what Catholic higher education ought to be.”

– William Cardinal Baum

Prefect Emeritus

Congregation for Catholic Education