Skip to Content

Report: College Among Top in the Nation for Lowest Student Debt

Posted: August 26, 2016

LendEDU, an online marketplace for student loans and loan refinancing, has compiled a list of the four-year colleges and universities with the lowest student-debt loads in the United States. Thomas Aquinas College ranks near the top of that list, number 42 out of some 1,300 schools, and number 25 among private institutions.

lendEDUUsing the newest licensed Peterson’s financial aid data, LendEDU analyzed the current student-debt levels of those who graduated from college in 2015. According to these findings, the average student debt per borrower among the College’s 2015 graduates was, as of this month, $16,901 — nearly half of the national average of $31,710 for graduates of private colleges and universities, and also significantly below the national average of $26,872 for graduates of public institutions.

“Thomas Aquinas College is giving students a very low amount of student debt at graduation,” says Alex Coleman, director of business development at LendEDU. The College, as well as the other schools at the top of LendEDU’s list, “are doing an excellent job helping students avoid student debt.”

Nationwide, the average college graduate’s debt at graduation has increased at more than twice the rate of inflation over the last decade, LendEDU reports. Yet, by God’s grace, Thomas Aquinas College has been able to resist that trend. It has frozen tuition and room & board rates for the last four years, and it caps at $18,000 the amount that students must borrow, over the course of four years, before they can receive institutional aid. Thanks to the generosity of its benefactors, the College has maintained a commitment, ever since its founding, to never turn away a qualified student on the basis of financial need.

Moreover, because the College has a fixed curriculum, most students complete its academic program in just four years, which limits the amount that families must pay — and students must borrow — to cover tuition. The four-year graduation rate for American college students is just 39.0 percent, compared to 80 percent for 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.

LendEDU joins a long list of guides and analyst to praise the College for its robust financial aid program and low student-debt rates. The Princeton Review includes Thomas Aquinas as one of only 20 “great financial aid schools.” U.S. News & World Report ranks the College No. 8 for “least debt” and No. 26 on its national liberal arts colleges Best Values list. And Forbes most recently named Thomas Aquinas among the country’s “Top Colleges” for “return on investment.”

“Thomas Aquinas College is doing on the undergraduate level exactly what should be done. The College's alumni and alumnae prove that with this kind of education you can go on and do anything.”

– Dr. Ralph McInerny (†)

Scholar and Writer

NEWS FROM THE COLLEGE