Thomas Aquinas College tops ‘Best College Values’ list

Staff Writer
Published: 7/31/2019 5:44:20 PM

NORTHFIELD — The California-based college set to open a campus in Northfield this fall has been ranked first in the nation on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of the 400 Best College Values among liberal arts colleges.

This is the first year that Thomas Aquinas College was ranked first, also representing the only Catholic college to be ranked in the top 20. The school was ranked No. 14 on the 2018 Kiplinger list.

In another first, Thomas Aquinas College will be welcoming approximately 50 new students to its Northfield campus for the first time this fall. The college, whose main campus is located in Santa Paula, Calif., took partial ownership of the campus off Northfield’s Main Street on May 2, 2018. The Moody Center owns the remainder of the property.

According to a press release from the college, approximately 90 percent of its students report taking out loans, though the average debt among those who borrow is less than the national average at both private and public schools.

“Thomas Aquinas meets 100 percent of students’ demonstrated financial need, awarding need-based aid to 70 percent of students,” the press release states.

The Kiplinger guide highlights educational institutions that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost. Kiplinger is a publisher of business forecasts and a personal finance service based in Washington, D.C.

The rankings are designed to “help families see how their full array of colleges stack up,” Kaitlin Pitsker, associate editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, said in the release.

The list begins with nearly 1,200 schools and is trimmed down based on measures of academic quality, cost and financial aid data.

“For a Catholic liberal education that is as excellent as it is unique, Thomas Aquinas College offers a value that cannot be matched,” Director of Admissions Jon Daly said in the release.

According to the release, the school does not accept any direct government funding so as to preserve its independence and Catholic identity. Instead, individual benefactors and foundations contribute to ensure that no qualified student is turned away for financial means.

The college maintains a “need-blind admissions process, and it caps student loans at approximately $18,000 over four years,” the release states. The school’s alumni have a less than 1 percent loan default rate, compared to the average loan default rate for private colleges of 7.1 percent.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-722-0261, ext. 264.

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