This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
WEST CHESTER — Only three public institutions in Pennsylvania were named to the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges list for 2016 by “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance” magazine, and making it was West Chester University.
Kiplinger’s rankings are based entirely on measurable criteria, its website said, such as admission rates, on-time graduation rates, student-faculty ratios, financial aid and “sticker price.”
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Out of the nearly 1,200 public and private four-year schools, West Chester University made it onto the list again.
West Chester University came in at 77th on the list with a 53 percent admission rate, 44 percent four-year graduation rate and an average debt at graduation of $30,881.
Data also shown on the list includes the total cost per year at the university for in-state students ($18,789), the cost after need-based aid for in-state students ($13,227), the cost per year for out- of-state students ($29,607), the cost after need-based aid for out-of-state students ($24,045) and a salary yardstick ($46,500).
The salary yardstick is based on the median earnings of workers who started at the college 10 years earlier and who also received federal financial aid and does not consider if students graduate or went on to graduate school.
Pitt also had a 53 percent admission rate, but a 65 percent four-year graduation rate and an average debt of $36,466 while Penn State had a 50 percent admission rate and 66 percent four-year graduation rate with an average debt of $36,935.
The 2016 list differs from years past by now measuring only four-year graduation rates, stating that change “penalizes schools with a high percentage of students that graduate in five or six years.”
Also for the first time with the 2016 list, both public and private schools were ranked onto one list, from which they could then be broken down to the normal divide.
Overall, West Chester came in 270th out of 300 on the combined list.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be recognized nationally to be a best value among four-year institutions,” said Nancy Santos Gainer, executive director of Communications at West Chester University. “Just today, our online MBA program has been ranked as one of the best.”
As of Tuesday, West Chester was also ranked by U.S. News & World Report, coming in tied at 71st for Regional Universities in the north, tied for 18th in Top Public Schools in the north and tied for 53rd in Best Colleges for Veterans in the north.
For its online programs, West Chester tied for 55th as the best online MBA program, and that’s overall and not just in the northern region.
“The recognition really confirms the fact that West Chester University is indeed one of the nation’s top universities,” Santos Gainer said. “Everyone is just so proud.”