Berea College Ranked No. 1 “Best Value College” by The Wall Street Journal/THE

A Berea College student reading the Wall Street Journal's article ranking Berea College Number 1Berea College tops the list of “Best Value Colleges” in the nation in The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education (THE) 2020 College Rankings. Looking at the top 250 schools overall, the rankings calculated which schools provide the best value by dividing each school’s overall score by its average net price according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. The average net price is the total cost of attending a school—including tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other costs—minus federal or institutional financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Students who don’t receive any aid aren’t included in the calculation.

Berea’s no-tuition model contributed to its No. 1 best-value ranking. The College ranked No. 155 overall.

“We are thrilled to be ranked at the top of this impressive list of colleges and universities and are proud to be leading a cohort of schools that are committed to the important American ideal of social mobility through educational opportunity,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “Our no-tuition policy allows us to provide talented students who might not otherwise be able to afford access to a high-quality liberal arts education and transformative experiences and enables them to graduate with little or no debt.”

Following Berea on the list are three schools in the City University of New York (CUNY) system: CUNY City College of New York, CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College and CUNY Hunter College. The University of Washington-Seattle rounds out the top five.

Eight of the top 10 best-value colleges in this year’s Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings are public schools whose financial resources are constrained by government budgets.

Read the Wall Street Journal article here (pdf).

Categories: News, Places
Tags: Accolade, tuition, Tuition-free, Wall Street Journal

Berea College Cited as Top Performer in Sustainability

Cover image for the AASHE Sustainable Campus IndexBerea College gained the No. 1 spot in the nation for Campus Engagement in the newly released 2019 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI). The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas and overall by institution type, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) reporting system. Berea, long-known for a strong commitment to sustainability, was recognized with a perfect score for campus engagement. Since 2017, Berea College has had a “gold” STARS rating.

The newly-released SCI report also highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from institutions that submitted STARS reports in the most recent calendar year. The institutions and initiatives featured in this year’s SCI showcase the great work higher education institutions are doing to lead the global sustainability transformation.

Berea College is a leader in “turning the blue grass state green,” achieving many sustainability “firsts.” Berea College had both the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building in Kentucky (Lincoln Hall, the College’s administration building) and the first LEED-certified hotel (Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant). Berea’s campus also is home to several LEED-certified residence halls and the newly-built Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building (MAC), which was awarded LEED gold certification and full-project certification by the Forest Stewardship Council. Berea College is also home of the first Ecovillage in the commonwealth.Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to assess and recognize buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance, LEED promotes environmentally- and socially-responsible construction and operation of green buildings in order to improve quality of life.

Facade of the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building
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Washington Monthly Ranks Berea No. 1 as Best Bang for the Buck and No. 4 Best Liberal Arts College

2019 Washington Monthly College Rankings magazine coverWashington Monthly ranked Berea College No. 1 as the Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in the South. No other college in Kentucky was in the top 25. Berea also was named the nation’s No. 4 top liberal arts college in the 2019 Washington Monthly College Rankings guide. The recognition for Berea comes from its success in educating and graduating academically talented, low-income students who become service-oriented leaders in their professions and communities.

In announcing the rankings, Washington Monthly author Robert Kelchen noted that there is “growing public attention paid to colleges’ roles in fostering upward social mobility among their students. This is our eighth year of producing a ranking of ‘best bang for the buck’ colleges, which is laser focused on showing which colleges do a good job promoting social mobility—and which don’t.”

Kelchen noted that Berea held the top spot again this year due to the College’s “economic diversity, relatively strong graduation rates and commitment to meeting students’ financial need.”

Washington Monthly’s rankings focus on what colleges are doing for the good of the country at large by the way they educate their students. The publication measures schools’ success in three key areas—social mobility (admitting and graduating low-income students), research and Ph.D. production and community service—to determine the rankings.

“We find such recognition for Berea’s success in serving students who might otherwise not be able to attend college most gratifying, especially since the criteria for Washington Monthly rankings aligns with Berea’s mission,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “The economic data and peer surveys that other publications use for their rankings typically favor wealthy, elite colleges. By contrast the Washington Monthly criteria recognizes the value of social mobility, transformative education and service, which are consistent with our ‘Great Commitments’ that inform Berea’s work and inspire support from donors.”

Berea’s distinctive mission is serving low-income students. Between 80 and 90 percent of Berea students receive federal Pell grants and annual household of students’ families is about $29,000. The national graduation rates for that demographic averages only in the mid-teens. By contrast, about two-thirds of Berea’s students graduate on time and a healthy number go on to earn doctoral and other advanced degrees.

The Washington Monthly College Rankings and guide appear online here.

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Tags: Accolade, Tuition-free, Washington Monthly

Berea Named One of the Best 385 Colleges in the Princeton Review’s 2020 Guide

Graduates celebrating in Seabury Center

(Photo: Crystal Wylie ’05)

Princeton Review 2020 CoverThe Princeton Review has once again included Berea College in its just-released publication of The Best 385 Colleges: 2020 Edition.

Berea is nationally recognized for its high-quality education and its distinctive labor program, which hires every admitted student to help operate the school. Berea is also known for its Tuition Promise Scholarship that covers the $44,100 annual tuition cost for every student. That is particularly meaningful for Berea’s students since most come from families making an average of $29,000 and are the first in their families to attend college.

The Princeton Review’s list of best colleges is based on input from students at America’s schools on a survey that asked students 84 questions about their school’s academics, administration, campus community and themselves. The answer format uses a five-point Likert scale to convert qualitative student assessments into quantitative data for school-to-school comparisons. The company does not rank the 385 schools in the book hierarchically, from 1 to 385 in any category. Instead The Princeton Review surveyed 140,000 students at 385 of the nation’s top colleges to rate their schools on dozens of topics important to applicants and their parents.

“Berea’s continued recognition among America’s top schools is gratifying,” said Lyle D. Roelofs, president of Berea College. “Berea’s no-tuition model is especially important to our students whose families seek the kind of high-quality liberal arts education Berea College offers, but cannot afford to pay tuition. The national attention on Berea from organizations such as The Princeton Review helps families connect with a school that will meet their needs. This recognition also puts a spotlight on Berea’s many alumni and friends whose contributions replace tuition so that our student’s outcomes are not limited by their financial situations.” 

“The 385 colleges for this edition were chosen as ‘best’ overall, academically, based on data gathered in 2018–19 from more than a thousand school administrators about their schools’ academic programs and offerings,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief and lead author of the book.

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Tags: Accolade, Princeton Review, tuition, Tuition-free

Berea College Science Building Gains LEED Green Building Gold and FSC Certifications

MAC Building Exterior

Berea College announced that the newly-built Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building (MAC) has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification and full project certification by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The LEED rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to assess and recognize buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human-health performance. The Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of forests worldwide, certified the full project.

“Gaining LEED Gold is no easy task to accomplish with any building, much less one as large and complex as the MAC,” said Derrick Singleton, vice president of operations and sustainability at Berea College. “This building continues to support Berea’s mission to promote an environmentally safe and sustainable way of life.”

Berea College achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

“We also received the Forest Stewardship Council’s Full Project Certification for the MAC,” said Richard Dodd, LEED AP, director of Project Management at Berea College. “This certification requires a full audit of all wood products used in construction and verified to have been sourced with ecological responsibility.”

“This makes Berea home to five of eight such FSC certified projects in the U.S. and one of only 85 worldwide. These are testaments of our efforts to ‘tread softly’ on the environment while still making big impacts,” Dodd continued.

LEED promotes environmentally- and socially-responsible construction and operation of green buildings in order to improve quality of life. Berea College had both the first LEED-certified building in Kentucky (Lincoln Hall, the College’s administration building) and the first LEED certified hotel (Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant). Berea’s campus is also home to several LEED certified residence halls.

“Achieving LEED certification is more than implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment to making the world a better place and influencing others to do better,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role of the building industry in that effort, Berea College demonstrates their leadership through their LEED certification of The Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health project.

Categories: News, Places
Tags: Forest Stewardship Council, FSC certification, LEED, Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building, sustainability

Elite and Affordable

Draper Building

Question: What do Harvard, Duke, Stanford, Princeton and Berea have in common?
Answer:  They were all named as the top five elite universities that also are the most affordable for low-income families.

Skyler Lucci, CEO of HeyTutor, says that with need-blind admissions and generous financial aid programs, “America’s most elite universities are also the most affordable for low-income families while also providing an excellent education.” Berea College is among the top 5.

Using data from research conducted by The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institution, Lucci’s article, published by T74 (the74million.org) states that sometimes students and parents don’t fully understand the financial aid process or the difference between the published and net prices. As a result, low-income students may (wrongly) assume elite schools will be too expensive for them, when in fact, substantial financial resources are available to them. For example, Lucci points out that “Unlike most colleges in the U.S., Berea does not charge tuition in the traditional sense. Instead, it covers costs through endowment income, funds from donations and other sources of financial aid.” The article also states that Berea is an “. . . excellent institution of higher education for students with limited economic means.”

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Tags: Accolade, College Affordability, The74Million, tuition

Wood Worker’s Journal Features Berea’s Craft Expansion Through New Pine Croft School

Berea student working with woodcraft

Pine Croft, a woodworking school for adults, has been added to the repertoire of the Berea College Crafts Program and extends Berea’s support to the local, regional and national crafts communities. Located just minutes from campus and adjacent to the Berea College Forest, the woodworking school is on the site of the former Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking, which has been renamed The Woodworking School at Pine Croft.

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Categories: News, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Woodcraft, Woodworking Crafts, Woodworking School at Pine Croft

Nerdwallet Spotlights Berea’s Student Work Program

Student carrying a plant at the Ecovillage

Nerdwallet, a personal financial services blogsite that provides information on banking, credit cards, college loans, mortgage loans, insurance, and stock trading, highlighted Berea College in a recent article. The feature focused on Berea’s Student Labor Program and two other schools that are members of the Work Colleges Consortium that also require students to work.

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Categories: News, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Collis Robinson, Labor Program, Nerdwallet, Sylvia Asante, tuition, Tuition-free, Work Colleges Consortium

Hyde Park Living Features Berea College and Boone Tavern

Group of Berea students outside at Fee Glade

Berea College and Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant each were featured in recent issues of Hyde Park Living, a lifestyles publication based in the metro-Cincinnati area. Given Berea’s close proximity, many Cincinnati residents find Berea an enjoyable destination for day trips and weekend visits. Laura Hobson, a writer for Hyde Park Living, visited the College and the City of Berea for her three-part article series, which not only describe historic and contemporary features, but also include connections to Cincinnati. Several of the College’s buildings were designed by Cincinnati-based architects, and students, such as Gerald Thomas, a junior majoring in technology and applied science came to Berea from Cincinnati. Read part two of the article, featuring Berea College, and part three of the article, featuring Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant.

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Tags: Boone Tavern, Hyde Park Living

Berea Hosts Race Dialogue in Washington, D.C.

Naomi Tutu speaking at podium

Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu ’83 addressed around 80 people at the Dialogue on Race and Education held in Washington, D.C. on April 27.

Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu captivated her audience of fellow Berea College alumni and donors while speaking at the Dialogue on Race and Education hosted by Berea College at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on April 27. Tutu, a 1983 alumna, shared experiences from her own life—both as the daughter of Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu growing up in Apartheid in South Africa and as a mother in the U.S.—to illustrate the challenges that people of color face in dealing with race in their everyday lives.

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Categories: News, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dialogue on Race and Education, education, Naomi Tutu, race, Washington D.C.

Setting Sail: Berea Forestry Logs White Oak Trees for Ship Restoration

Berea College foresters riding horses on a trail in the forest

(Photo: Taylor Six, The Richmond Register)

Guest post by Taylor Six, The Richmond Register

A writer, photographer, a history professor and tree-logger from all across the nation were brought to the small town of Berea Thursday afternoon for their one shared similarity in the interests of John Steinbeck and the restoration of The Western Flyer.

The Western Flyer, known as “most famous fishing vessel ever to have sailed,” was made famous with the sailing of the author Steinbeck, along with marine biologist Ed Ricketts, in their 1940 journey to the Gulf of California, which helped accumulate the notes for their 1951 book, “The Log from the Sea of Cortez.”

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Tags: Berea College Forest, Clint Patterson, Forestry, Forestry Outreach Center, Wendy Warren

Nobel Prize Comes “Home” to Berea

Berea College installed a Nobel Prize—won by alumnus John Fenn ’37, for his notable work in chemistry—in the new Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building. Science faculty, students, College officials and family members of the late Dr. Fenn gathered to hear remarks about his development of Electrospray Ionization and its impact on developing life-saving medicines.

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Tags: alumni, Chemistry Department, John Fenn, Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building, Nobel Prize

Berea Recognized in Kentucky House of Representatives

In its February sessions, the Kentucky House of Representatives takes time during Black History Month to recognize groups or individuals who have made a positive impact on the African American community. R. Travis Brenda, the Kentucky representative for District 71 and a Berea College alumnus, recognized Berea from the House floor for the College’s many historic efforts for racial equality. (more…)

Categories: News, People, Places
Tags: Black History, Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson, Dr. Alicestyne Turley, Jackie Collier, Kentucky House of Representatives, Kim Brown, R. Travis Brenda, Tim Jordan, Virgil Burnside

Diverse Magazine Features the Father of Black History

Berea College and the Father of Black History by LaMont Jones Jr.

Preeminent scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson has been dubbed “the father of Black history” and is known for earning degrees at the University of Chicago and Harvard, but less well known is how living in Appalachia and attending Berea College informed his towering intellect and tireless work ethic. Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine writer LaMont Jones Jr. visited Berea’s campus to learn more about this alumnus who changed the way America views Black history. Hear from Alicestyne Turley, Berea’s director of the Carter G. Woodson Center, about how Woodson’s Appalachian roots and time at Berea impacted his life and how Berea College is keeping Woodson’s legacy alive today. Read the full article here. Alternatively, you may view the print version of the article here (PDF).

Categories: News, People, Places
Tags: Black History, Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Diverse Magazine, Dr. Alicestyne Turley, Father of Black History

Berea Named a “Best Value” College by the Princeton Review

Student forming a clay mugBerea College, widely known for its no-tuition policy, is one of the nation’s best colleges for students seeking a superb education with great career preparation at an affordable price, according to The Princeton Review®.

The newly-published 2019 edition of The Princeton Review’s annual guide, The Best Value Colleges: 200 Schools with Exceptional ROI for Your Tuition Investment, recommends colleges considered the nation’s best for academics, affordability and career prospects. The distinction is based on a ROI (return on investment) rating score developed by The Princeton Review that weights more than 40 data points, including data from previous years’ surveys of students and administrators at more than 650 U.S. colleges. Other factors include starting and mid-career salaries and career social impact. (more…)

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Tags: Accolade, College Affordability, Princeton Review, tuition, Tuition-free

Berea College Noted for Easing Student Financial Burden

A Berea graduate raising her arms in celebration with her diploma in hand

(Photo: Desiree Dunn ’21)

A recent article published by U. S. News & World Report included Berea among selective colleges where students are eager to apply, be accepted and attend. The story named highly competitive colleges that are considered “high yield,” which refers to the percentage of accepted students who choose to enroll. The article specifically cited Berea College and the United States Naval Academy for high yields and no tuition, stating “Two liberal arts colleges with high yield figures – the Naval Academy and Berea College in Kentucky – provide a tuition-free education, easing the financial burden on students and their families as the cost of school continues to rise across the nation.” Read the full article here.

Categories: News, Places
Tags: Student debt, tuition, Tuition-free, U.S. News, U.S. News & World Report

Berea College and Community to Celebrate MLK Day with Convocation and Events

Campus members holding sign for MLK Day march

Community (Berea and campus) members begin to march from Union Church to Presser Hall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018.
(Photo: Crystal Wylie ’05)

Berea College staff, faculty and students have organized a series of events in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. The centerpiece event is a convocation featuring Zeb Harrison & The Sounds of Praise. The annual MLK Day activities are co-sponsored by Office of the President, Berea College Music Program, Black Cultural Center, Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education, the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS), Berea College Music Program, First Christian Church, Union Church, and Willis D. Weatherford Jr. Campus Christian Center. (more…)

Categories: News, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Carter G. Woodson Center, Center for International Education, Center for Teaching and Learning, Convocation, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Convocation, Union Church

Berea’s Feature in The Atlantic Cited by the National College Access Network

Berea College was cited in a newly published article by Lindsay Broderick, a staff writer for the National College Access Network (NCAN), who called attention to the extensive feature about Berea in a recent issue of The Atlantic.

The National College Access Network is composed of member organizations across the U.S. that, like Berea, are committed to providing college access and success to students, especially for those who often are underrepresented in postsecondary education. Berea’s Partners for Education program is a NCAN member. (more…)

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Tags: National College Access Network, The Atlantic, Tuition-free

New Science Building at Berea College Dedicated; Dr. Mae Jemison, Former NASA Astronaut, Spoke at Convocation

Berea College officials conducted a dedication ceremony of the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. The new 125,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility houses the College’s science disciplines, mathematics and nursing. Nearly 1,000 alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students raised more than $12 million to make the vision for this new facility a reality. (more…)

Categories: News, Places
Tags: Biology Department, Chemistry Department, Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building, Mathematics Department, Nursing Department, Physics Department, science

Berea College Ranked among Nation’s Top Colleges

The 2018-19 academic year is off to a great start at Berea College. Just two months into the semester, the school is making the grade with several national accolades highlighting diversity, affordability, the high-quality liberal arts education students receive, and sustainability.

In September, INSIGHT into Diversity magazine announced that Berea was one of 96 institutions to receive its Higher Education Excellence in Diversity or HEED Award. The award is the only national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campus. (more…)

Categories: News, Places
Tags: Accolade, Dr. Lyle Roelofs, HEED Award, Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, INSIGHT into Diversity, Princeton Review, Times Higher Education, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly

Forest Stewardship Council Awards Full FSC Project Certification to Berea College

Berea College received Full Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Project certification for its latest construction project, the newly built Margaret A. Cargill (MAC) Natural Sciences and Health Project building. FSC certification verifies that FSC-labeled products come from a forest and supply chain managed in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible way. Currently there are a dozen FSC buildings or projects in the U.S. Five of them are on Berea College’s campus. (more…)

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Tags: Forest Stewardship Council, Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building, sustainability

Horse Logging Conference Features Demonstrations

Man operating logging equipment using two horses

Wendell Berry among Featured Speakers

Berea College will host a horse-logging conference at its Forestry Outreach Center October 29 through November 3. To culminate the week-long event, the public is invited to a free day of demonstrations and presentations on Saturday, November 3, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Speakers include noted Kentucky author and sustainable forestry advocate Wendell Berry. The event is open to people of all ages and takes place at the Berea College Forestry Outreach Center on Highway 21, just east of Berea. (more…)

Categories: News, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Berea College Forest, Event, Forestry, Forestry Outreach Center, Horse Logging, sustainability, Wendell Berry

Berea Featured in The Atlantic

Berea’s distinctive educational model has once again attracted national attention. The Atlantic published a feature on the College following a recent visit to campus by education writer Adam Harris. The article details Berea’s remarkable history and how its mission is carried out today. Harris also asks if Berea’s no-tuition model, or at least key aspects of it, could be replicated at other schools across America to address the need for affordable, high-quality education. Read the full article at The Atlantic here.

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Tags: education, The Atlantic, Tuition-free

New Science Building at Berea College to be Dedicated; Dr. Mae Jemison, Former NASA Astronaut, to Speak

Mae Jemison

Dr. Mae Jemison

Berea College officials will conduct a dedication ceremony of the Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building on Saturday, October 20, 2018. The new 125,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility houses the College’s science disciplines, mathematics and nursing. (more…)

Categories: News, People, Places
Tags: Biology Department, Chemistry Department, Dr. Mae Jemison, Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building, Mathematics Department, Nursing Department, Physics Department