The April issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, which includes a ranking of the 100 best values in private higher education, ranks Gonzaga University as the 42nd best value among private universities nationwide.
The 100 universities chosen by Kiplinger are separated into two lists of 50 institutions. One list includes the 50 schools ranked as the best values among private universities; the other list includes the 50 best values among liberal arts colleges. Gonzaga is No. 42 on the best private universities list. To determine each category, Kiplinger used the Carnegie classification system that organizes colleges and universities based on the highest level and number of degrees offered.
The top 100 schools were culled from data on more than 1,000 private institutions provided to Kiplinger by Peterson’s Undergraduate Database. The methodology measures academic quality and affordability, with quality accounting for two-thirds of the total.
Quality measures used to select the best values were based on 2005-06 data in the following categories: undergraduate enrollment, admission rate, SAT or ACT scores of incoming freshmen, the student-to-faculty ratio, and the four-and five-year graduation rates. The admission rate is the percentage of total applicants who were offered admission. SAT or ACT shows the percentage of the freshman class who scored 600 or higher on the verbal and math components of the SAT, or 24 or higher on the ACT. The four-and five-year graduation rates are the percentage of freshmen who earned a bachelor’s degree in four or five years, respectively, based on latest available data. The five-year graduation rate is the percentage of freshmen who earned a bachelor’s degree within five years.
The financial measures included total costs for the 2006-2007 academic year, need met, aid from grants, cost after non-need-based aid, non-need-based aid, and average debt upon graduation. The total costs measure includes tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and estimated cost for books. Cost after need-based aid is the total cost minus the average need-based aid amount (excluding loans). Need met is the average percentage of a student’s recognized need satisfied by the school’s aid package. Aid from grants is the percentage of the average aid package that came from grants or scholarships. Cost after non-need-based aid is the cost for a student with no demonstrated need after subtracting the average non-need aid amount (excluding loans). Non-need based aid is the percentage of all undergraduates without need who received aid. Average debt at graduation is the average amount of debt owed by a graduate who took out an education loan.
GU, with 4,152 undergraduate students enrolled in 2005-2006, admitted 73 percent of the students who applied. Gonzaga’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio was 12-to-1 in 2005-2006, Kiplinger noted. Seventy-one percent of GU undergraduates received non-need based aid in 2006-2007, and students needing aid received 84 percent of their financial aid packages from grants or scholarships in the same year.
Kiplinger was founded in 1920 by W. M. Kiplinger and developed one of the nation’s first successful newsletters, “The Kiplinger Letter,” which is the longest continually published newsletter in the United States. Kiplinger also created the nation’s first finance magazine. Kiplinger editors are dedicated to delivering sound, unbiased advice for American families and businesses in clear, concise language.