Thomas Aquinas College ranked on Kiplinger’s best values list

  • Contributed by Anne Forsyth

Recorder Staff
Friday, February 02, 2018

Thomas Aquinas College, owner of the Northfield campus, added another accolade to its resume this month when its original Santa Paula, Calif., campus was ranked on Kiplinger’s 2018 Best Values list.

The Roman Catholic liberal arts college was ranked No. 14 among all American colleges and universities, making it the highest-placed Catholic institution on the list.

“We are humbled by, and grateful for, Kiplinger’s recognition,” said Admissions Director Jon Daly. “We consider it an affirmation of our founders’ conviction that the best way to achieve academic excellence is not to abandon the church’s moral and intellectual patrimony, but to embrace it.”

According to a Thomas Aquinas College press release, the Kiplinger guide highlights educational institutions that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost. Kiplinger is a publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice based in Washington, D.C.

Kiplinger considers factors like admission rates, graduation rates, total cost per year, financial aid, debt at graduation and graduate salaries when ranking schools.

“We start with a universe of nearly 1,200 schools and trim the list using measures of academic quality,” said Mark Solheim, editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. “We then rank the schools based on cost and financial aid data.”

The list, which is trimmed to include 300 schools, shows students at Thomas Aquinas College accumulate an average of $16,986 of debt by graduation, and receive an average of $14,225 in need-based financial aid, offsetting the $32,500 cost per year. According to the release, the college caps student debt at $18,000 over four years.

Last fall, Thomas Aquinas College was ranked No. 30 out of 108 schools on the 2018 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Values list for national liberal arts colleges, and No. 6 of 10 on The Princeton Review’s national Financial Aid Honor Roll.

The liberal arts college took over ownership of part of the campus off of Northfield’s Main Street on May 2, with hopes of starting another branch in Massachusetts. The Moody Center owns the remainder of the property.

President Michael McLean previously said he plans for the first classes in Northfield to begin in the fall of 2018. However, the college is still waiting for approval from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and was not able to get on the Board of Higher Education’s Jan. 23 meeting agenda.

McLean said previously that he believes the board’s next meeting, on March 6, would be the latest the college could get approval and still plan to open in 2018. The college’s contingency plan, if it doesn’t get approval by March, involves delaying a year.