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).

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.

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.”

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.

Continue reading Nerdwallet Spotlights Berea’s Student Work Program

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

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.

Berea College Featured In Business Insider

With national debates about rising tuition costs for higher education and the increasing amount of debt students carry upon graduation, Business Insider takes a look at Berea College and suggests other American colleges and universities might glean some lessons from Berea. Continue reading Berea College Featured In Business Insider

Courtney ’18: Holding Her Future in Her Hands

Courtney '18

Courtney is special, but not different. She holds the proof in her hands. Fleeing “a bad environment” in Cincinnati, young Courtney and her mother found shelter with family in a little eastern Kentucky town—a little eastern Kentucky town with fewer than ten other African Americans living in it. Here, when young Courtney was feeling different, a teacher pointed out something about her hands that made her feel better. Continue reading Courtney ’18: Holding Her Future in Her Hands

Kiplinger Ranks Berea College The Country’s #1 Best Value

For the second consecutive year, Berea College tops Kiplinger’s list of the country’s 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. Continue reading Kiplinger Ranks Berea College The Country’s #1 Best Value

National Report Shows Berea College Has Lowest Tuition and Fees in the Nation

According to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), Berea College is the nation’s least expensive private college when calculating the costs of tuition and fees, and continues to be a model institution for making college accessible and affordable for students with great promise but limited financial resources. Continue reading National Report Shows Berea College Has Lowest Tuition and Fees in the Nation