Western Carolina University has been named a “2017 Best College Value” in an annual review of colleges and universities released by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.
WCU is ranked 98th among public higher education institutions across the nation in terms of value for in-state students and 83rd for out-of-state students. The rankings are based on admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, four-year graduation rates, costs of attending, financial aid and average debt of students at graduation.
“We are pleased that Western Carolina University once again has been recognized as one of the top 100 values among public colleges and universities in the nation,” said Chancellor David O. Belcher. “We believe this to be an especially important ranking because it incorporates measurements of both academic quality and affordability, with more weight given to academic quality. Affordability and academic quality are precisely what prospective students and their parents say are among their top issues when deciding where to go for a college education.”
WCU is one of seven public schools in North Carolina ranked among its top 100 public college values. The magazine’s review begins with a list of 1,200 public and private schools, with a final 300 evaluated as a best value, said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
“There’s no way around it, college is expensive and it’s going to stay that way for a long time,” Bodnar said. “Our rankings weigh affordability alongside academic quality. Our goal is to help students and their parents understand what’s really worth the price.”
Rankings and guidebooks can serve as a tool in the college search process, but so can campus visits.
Weekday campus tours are available year-round by appointment for students and their families. Spring semester Open House events are planned for two Saturdays in early 2017 on Feb. 25 and March 25.