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Kiplinger Ranks College No. 22 Among U.S. Colleges, No. 12 for Liberal Arts

Posted: December 17, 2015

Kiplinger Personal Finance has ranked Thomas Aquinas College No. 22 on its list of the Top 300 Best College Values of 2016, designating the College No. 12 among all liberal arts colleges in the United States.

Introduced in 1998, the Kiplinger rankings highlight educational institutions that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost. “We start with a universe of 1,200 schools,” says Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance. “So each school on our rankings, from number 1 to number 300, is a best value.”

To measure academic quality, the editors look at admission rates, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, and student-faculty ratios. “Unlike other college rankings, ours are based entirely on measurable criteria,” writes Kiplinger’s Kaitlin Pitsker. “Neither our opinion nor anyone else’s affects the calculations.”

In determining affordability, Kiplinger considers sticker price, financial aid, and average debt at graduation. Distinguishing itself from most other college guides, it also includes four-year graduation rates among its affordability criteria. “It’s based on simple math,” explains Ms. Pitsker. “The faster your child graduates, the less money you’ll spend on his or her education.”

Nationwide, just 39.0 percent of American college students graduate in four years, compared to 72 percent of the students at Thomas Aquinas College. As a result, the total cost of education at a typical public or private college (even if its tuition rate is nominally lower than the College’s) is oftentimes higher, because students must pay for 2-4 additional semesters. This delay also comes with the opportunity cost of missed time in the workforce after graduation.

“We are pleased to have been ranked so highly once again on the Kiplinger list,” says Thomas Aquinas College Director of Admissions Jon Daly. “No single college guide can give the full measure of a school, but taken together, the various guides help to form a more complete picture. Our high rankings from the Princeton Review, ACTA, and U.S. News & World Report, for example, speak to the College’s academic reputation. Our inclusion in the Cardinal Newman Society and National Catholic Register guides reflects our fidelity to the Catholic Church. And the latest reviews from USA Today and Kiplinger demonstrate the affordability of our academic program, made possible by the College’s many generous benefactors.”

Since its founding, Thomas Aquinas College has maintained a policy of never turning away a student on the basis of financial need. It also caps student debt at $18,000 over four years.