Berea College Recognized for Exceptional Financial & Academic Value

Berea, KY (January 20, 2016) – During 2015, several national publications and websites recognized Berea College for its excellence in academics and as a significant value for students and their families.

Commenting of the rankings, Berea College President Lyle Roelofs stated, “We are gratified that Berea was recognized with strong rankings such as these. Our current students, alumni and donors also can take pride in knowing the school they attend and support continues to serve the public good by providing a high-quality education for talented, low-income students from Appalachia and beyond.”

A 2016 “Best College Value” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Berea College was named to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s list of the Top 300 Best College Values of 2016. The rankings highlight public schools, private universities and private liberal arts colleges that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost. In addition, Kiplinger has ranked the top 100 best values in each category. Berea College is ranked in the top 50 liberal arts colleges and in the top 100 in Kiplinger’s combined list of top schools nationally.

Kiplinger assesses value by measurable standards of academic quality and affordability. Quality measures include the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include sticker price, financial aid and average debt at graduation. Berea, like many schools, has been recognized by Kiplinger multiple times, a testament to the consistent value these particular colleges provide.

Janet Bodnar, Editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine said, “We start with a universe of 1,200 schools, so each school on our rankings, from number 1 to number 300, is a best value. Families can use the list as a starting point and then tailor it to each student’s preference for such things as size, location, campus culture and major.”

At, visitors have access to the “Find the Best College for You” tool and other tools that let readers sort by admission rate, average debt at graduation and other criteria for all schools, plus in-state and out-of-state cost for public universities. Also online: slide shows of the top 10 schools in different categories, archives of past years’ rankings and an FAQ on the ranking methodology.

The complete rankings are available online at and appear in print in the February 2016 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. 

USA TODAY Names Berea as One of “Best 10 Colleges for the Money”

Berea College was named by USA TODAY as one of the “Best 10 colleges for the money.” The article, which focuses on the rising cost of higher education, cites a select number of schools that counter that trend and states that Berea “offers all admitted students a scholarship completely covering their tuition.” It also notes that many students “receive additional aid” to cover other educational costs beyond tuition.

Berea College provides a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which ensures that no student will ever have to pay for their tuition. Berea’s liberal arts academic program is enhanced with a full-participation work-study program. As part of their educational experience, all 1,600 students are required to work 10 or more hours per week in campus and service jobs in one or more of 130 departments. Berea’s Labor Program creates an atmosphere of democratic living that emphasizes the dignity of all work and provides opportunities for students to earn money for their room, board and books, as well as develop a work ethic documented in a labor transcript.

USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, its mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Through its unique visual storytelling, USA TODAY delivers high-quality and engaging content across print, digital, social and video platforms. An innovator of news and information, USA TODAY reflects the pulse of the nation and serve as the host of the American conversation – today, tomorrow and for decades to follow. Daily subscribers, single issue and online, USA TODAY reaches nearly seven million readers daily, and its mobile applications attest to more than 21 million downloads on mobile devices.

One of MONEY‘s Best Colleges and 50 Most Affordable Private Colleges

MONEY determined which of the country’s roughly 1,500 four-year colleges and universities deliver the most value – that is, a great education, at an affordable price that helps students launch promising careers.

MONEY used a variety of criteria to create its list. Those steps included:

  • Initial cut. MONEY screened out schools with graduation rates below the median and those facing financial difficulties.
  • Ranking factors. The remaining colleges were ranked on 21 factors in three equally weighted categories: educational quality, affordability and alumni earnings from
  • Special value measure. A “value added” grade was included that considered how well students at each school did compared with what would be expected given their economic and academic backgrounds and the institution’s mix of majors. Berea College received a grade of “A” in value added from MONEY.
  • Focus on affordability. Among the factors considered: merit aid, parent and student borrowing, the length of time to graduate, tuition increases and other measures.

Thanks to generous aid packages or lower-than-average tuition – or a combination of the two – the total cost of a four-year education at one of these Most Affordable Private Colleges is typically the lowest you’ll pay at any private school on MONEY‘s Best Colleges list.

Among the quotes from Berea students that accompanied the article were:

“Very diverse, lots of international students and cultural opportunities. Very eco-friendly.”

“People with drive and determination should attend this school. It’s not easy academically and it takes a strong person to make it through the full four years.”

“The element that Berea College possesses that I brag about the most is the academic expectations. Berea College expects a great deal of academic success. I brag about this the most because it allows the prospective student(s) to understand and realize that Berea College is a great school academic-wise. I also brag about the mandatory on-campus job. With this on-campus job, you receive money to work in a specified location. This money also is helpful when you need to buy certain items for your room…”

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MONEY magazine is published by Time Inc. Its articles cover the gamut of personal finance topics ranging from investing, saving, retirement and taxes to family finance issues like paying for college, credit, career and home improvement.

Forbes Magazine Ranks Berea College #5 in Best Value Colleges 2015

According to Forbes magazine, “With the average student with student loans now graduating with $35,200 in debt, paying for college will be a burden for millions for decades to come.  Which is why selecting the right college often means weighing the long tail value of the degree over the pure prestige of the school’s brand.”

In naming College of the Ozarks fourth and Berea College as fifth in Best Value Colleges 2015, Forbes stated, “The schools’ missions and practices make it clear why they make the list: both offer free tuition in exchange for students putting in hours of work for the university.”

A Forbes article accompanying the magazine’s rankings explained further, “This is a new age of return-on-investment education, the very heart of our definitive ranking. Our focus is on just one measurement: outcomes. From low student debt and high graduation rates to student satisfaction and career success, these outstanding institutions are worth it.”

The article further stated, “While the cost of U.S. higher education escalates, there’s a genuine silver lining in play. A growing number of colleges and universities are now focusing on student-consumer value over marketing prestige, making this a new age of return-on-investment education. This pivot is the result of intense public scrutiny on the substantial cost of a degree vs. long tail worth – the very heart of Forbes definitive Top Colleges ranking.”

The magazine’s profile of Berea College included, “a private liberal arts work college located in Berea, Kentucky, covers all tuition and admits only academically promising students, primarily those with limited financial resources from Appalachia. The school offers over 30 degree programs, and students are required to participate in a work-study program, logging at least 10 hours per week in campus and service jobs. Started as a one-room schoolhouse in 1855 and named for the biblical town receptive to the gospel, Berea continues to promote an understanding of the Christian faith to its students. It also provides significant funding to students who wish to study abroad through the Global Education Opportunity scholarships.”

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Forbes is a global media company, focusing on business, investing and technology. Forbes is an American business magazine owned by Forbes, Inc. Published bi-weekly, it features original articles on finance, industry, investing and marketing topics. Forbes also reports on related subjects such as technology, communications, science and law. The magazine is well known for its lists and rankings.

Washington Monthly Ranks Berea College as Third-Best Liberal Arts College in the USA and the “Best Bang for the Buck College” in the Southern Region

The Washington Monthly College Guide and Rankings “asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country. Are they educating low-income students, or just catering to the affluent? Are they improving the quality of their teaching, or ducking accountability for it? Are they trying to become more productive – and if so, why is average tuition rising faster than health care costs? Every year we lavish billions of tax dollars and other public benefits on institutions of higher learning. This guide asks: Are we getting the most for our money?”

The Washington Monthly ranked four-year colleges in America on “three measures that would make the whole system better, if only schools would compete on them. The first is upward mobility: Are schools enrolling and graduating students of modest means and charging them a reasonable price? The second is research: Are they preparing undergraduates to earn PhDs, and creating the new technologies and ideas that will drive economic growth and advance human knowledge? The third is service: Are schools encouraging their students to give back to the country by joining the military or the Peace Corps, or at least letting them use their work-study money to do community service rather than making them on-campus office slaves?”

Berea College was ranked the third-best liberal arts college in the United States by the Washington Monthly. According to the Guide, “Berea College in Kentucky, ranked third on our list, specializes in educating low-income, first-generation college students, at a price that’s virtually free. In a time when researchers are increasingly questioning how much undergraduates actually learn while they’re in college, liberal arts schools often provide the intensive, personalized learning environments where students thrive.”

In addition, the Washington Monthly College Guide and Rankings rated Berea College first in its Best Bang for the Buck – Southern Rankings. The Best Bang for the Buck shows “which schools in the South are the best value for the money based on ‘net’ (not sticker) price, how well they do graduating the students they admit and whether those students go on to earn at least enough to pay off their loans.”

According to the Guide, “Berea College primarily serves students from low-income families and does not charge tuition, thanks to a large endowment and generous donors, resulting in a negative net price for the neediest students and a 64 percent graduation rate.”

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Washington Monthly is a bimonthly nonprofit magazine of United States politics and government that is based in Washington, D.C.

U.S. News and World Report Ranks Berea College among the Best Liberal Arts Colleges

U.S News and World Report is a recognized leader in college, graduate school and other category rankings. The multi-platform publisher of news and information ranked and provided data on nearly 1,800 colleges and universities. According to U.S News and World Report, Liberal Arts Colleges emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study. It ranked Berea College tied for 67th best liberal arts college.

U.S News and World Report stated, “Berea College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,621, with a gender distribution of 43.9 percent male students and 56.1 percent female students. At this school, 82 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated or -affiliated housing and 18 percent of students live off campus.”

Equal opportunity and diversity have been at the heart of Berea’s mission for more than 150 years. The College has an inclusive Christian character, expressed in its scriptural motto “God has made of one blood all peoples of the Earth” (Acts 17:26). Berea’s primary service area is the Southern Appalachian region, but students come from all states in the U.S. and, in a typical year, more than 60 countries are represented on campus.  This allows for an experience of a rich diversity of colors, cultures and faiths. One in three students is an ethnic minority.

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U.S. News & World Report is a multi-platform publisher of news and information, which includes and U.S. News publishes annual print and e-book versions of its authoritative rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools and Best Hospitals.

The company is privately owned by Mortimer B. Zuckerman and traces its history back to the weekly newspaper the United States News founded by David Lawrence in 1933. The last print issue of U.S. News & World Report magazine was published in December 2010 completing the transition to digital. In 2013 U.S. News expanded its monthly audience to over 20 million unique visitors with 120 million page views.

Categories: News, Places
Tags: Accolade, College Affordability, Forbes, Kiplinger, MONEY Magazine, Tuition-free, U.S. News, USA Today, Washington Monthly

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.