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Wofford on Kiplinger's '100 Best Values in Private Colleges'

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2009-11-04

Fifth in lowest tuition for liberal arts colleges

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College is the top South Carolina college listed on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s “100 Best Values in Private Colleges for 2009-10,” which ranks the college at #31 nationally among liberal arts colleges, up from its #42 rank a year ago. The list was released Wednesday (Nov. 4).

Wofford also was fifth on the national list of liberal arts institutions offering the lowest tuition, and among five Southern liberal arts colleges on the “best values” list. The others were Davidson College (#4), Washington & Lee University (#7), Furman University (#39) and Rhodes College (#41).  (Find out more about Wofford's Financial Aid.)

The annual best values list ranks the 100 institutions that “exemplify excellent academics while keeping their costs to a minimum.” The article and list appears in Kiplinger’s December issue – due on newsstands Nov. 10 and now online (with special interactive Web features, including video walking tours and a reader’s choice poll) at www.kiplinger.com/reports/best-college-values/.

Selected from a pool of more than 600 private institutions provided by Peterson’s, schools in the Kiplinger 100 were ranked according to academic quality and affordability — with quality accounting for two-thirds of the total.

“In a very difficult economy, more and more excellent students are taking a look at Wofford for both the valuable liberal arts education we offer and for our outstanding financial value,” says Dr. David S. Wood, dean of the college. “Wofford made the decision to implement a very modest tuition increase this year – 2.9 percent. We not only did not diminish the student experience, we enhanced it by launching our innovative new environmental studies program, by expanding our language offerings to include a Portuguese tract, and by expanding our support for our study abroad program.

“We continue to be proud of our inclusion on Kiplinger’s prestigious list, and that we moved up so well,” he continues. “We are not surprised at all, though, as we have been included recently in several of the ‘best buy’ guides, including Forbes.com and the Princeton Review. Wofford has established a pattern of being a best buy because our faculty and staff continue to be creative and committed to the primacy of the student experience.”

Pomona College topped the liberal arts list for the second consecutive year, and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) heads the private university list for the fourth time running, according to Kiplinger’s.

Financial resources continue to be tight for both parents and colleges in the troubled economy, but many students who applied to college for the 2009–10 academic year actually received more financial help than the previous year’s applicants, according to the magazine. Independent colleges boosted financial aid by 9 percent while keeping tuition increases — an average of 4.3 percent — to their lowest levels in four decades, increasing the average cost of a year at a private school to about $35,600. Worried about competition from public schools, some schools accepted more applicants, and many vigorously pruned expenses.

“This year’s top 100 private schools met the challenges of a slumping economy with brio,” says Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s. “With so many private institutions offering generous financial aid packages, families are finding that private college is still affordable. In fact, the average tuition price can be as little as half or less of the sticker price — making them very competitive with public universities.”