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SLU named to Kiplinger’s Best Values in Private Colleges list

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CANTON — Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has once again included St. Lawrence University in its list of “Best Values in Private Colleges.”

Kiplinger’s annual list of 200 private institutions includes100 private universities, which tend to focus on research and often award degrees beyond the bachelor’s level, and 100 private liberal arts colleges, which tend to focus primarily on undergraduate teaching. St. Lawrence University ranked number 67 in this year’s list of “Best Values in Private Colleges,” up from 73 last year.

“St. Lawrence works diligently to ensure our students have the means to afford the highest quality liberal arts education,” said William L. Fox ’75, president of St. Lawrence University. “Currently, more than 90 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid. The largest portion of those financial awards is gift aid, which is made directly by the university. Meanwhile, the average loan debt of our graduates remains below than the national average for all private and public universities.”

According to Kiplinger’s, St. Lawrence and the other institutions included in the 2014 lists represent the colleges that provide high-quality academics at a reasonable cost during these continued tough economic times. The colleges exemplify the attributes parents and students look for in higher education, including small class sizes, a good first-year student retention rate and a high four-year graduation rate.

While private schools generally carry higher sticker prices than in-state public institutions, private colleges and universities can be competitive with public school prices because of their generous financial aid packages. According to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, each institution has an array of financial, academic and other factors that students need to consider when finding the best college fit.

St. Lawrence’s average financial aid package – which can include gift aid, federal grants and loans, and campus employment – was $33,600 this past year.

Slightly more than 300 north nountry undergraduate students, which represents 13 percent of St. Lawrence’s student body, received 17 percent of the university’s nearly $52 million in direct gift aid last academic year.

“St. Lawrence awarded more than $8.8 million in gift aid to north country students,” Fox said. “That’s real money that stays in the pockets of our local students and families, and it’s money that positively impacts our local economy as well.”

Kiplinger’s rankings measure academic quality and affordability. Academic criteria include the student admission rate (the number of students accepted out of those who apply), the test scores of incoming first-year students, the ratio of students to faculty members, and the four- and five-year graduation rates. On the cost side, Kiplinger’s measures the sticker price, the availability and average amount of need-based and merit-based financial aid, and the average student debt at graduation.

“With President Obama’s recent emphasis on rating colleges and universities based on their value, our rankings serve as a valuable resource to help students and families make more informed choices,” said Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. “Combining a high-quality education with an affordable price tag is a challenge, but the colleges on this year’s list offer the best of both worlds.”

The full 2014 list is available at www.kiplinger.com/links/college.

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