Berea College tops Kiplinger’s list of the best-value private colleges where students pay less than $20,000 a year. In determining the ranking, Kiplinger cited Berea College’s generous financial aid and commitment to providing an education to students with limited financial resources. Berea College “trumps all the others [with] the remarkable deal it offers every student,” the ranking notes.
Kiplinger reports that the average net cost to a student attending Berea is $2,641 annually, well below the average cost of a two-year public college and almost $10,000 lower than the second-ranked school on Kiplinger’s list.
The list of 10 schools is drawn from Kiplinger’s larger lists of the 100 best values in private colleges and 100 best values in liberal arts colleges, where Berea is ranked 98th nationally. Kiplinger ranks schools based on five criteria: cost and financial aid, student indebtedness, competitiveness, graduation rates and academic support. Each factor is weighted differently, to reflect differences in relative importance, with cost and financial aid being the greatest factor.
This is Berea College’s second number one national ranking this year as the college was also ranked as the nation’s least expensive private college when calculating the costs of tuition and fees, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).
The College Affordability and Transparency Center, a DOE website that helps parents and prospective students learn about and compare college costs, reports that Berea College’s tuition and fees amount to $910 per academic year. The national average for the cost of tuition and fees is $21,949, but the most expensive schools charge twice that amount.
“I am deeply appreciative to all those who for more than a hundred years have generously given to Berea College so that an affordable and high-quality education could be available to those academically talented students whose families cannot provide it,” says Chad Berry, academic vice president and dean of the faculty. “Such generosity in Berea is a big reason that our education is sometimes referred to as the ‘best education money can’t buy.’”
Kiplinger, founded in 1920 and based in Washington, D.C., publishes business forecasts and personal finance advice to a paid circulation of more than 850,000.