Rhodes Recognized Nationally as a “Best Buy”

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Publication Date: 3/21/2007

The terms “bargain” and “private liberal arts college” are not often used in the same sentence. According to Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine, the price of a private education, including room and board, averages $30,000 a year. In this era of increasing prices for higher education, Rhodes College is pleased to be named one of the 50 best buys in private higher education.

Although the financial publication does not reveal the exact formula it uses to rank institutions, its table indicates that key considerations are selectivity (measured by the percentage of applicants who gain admission), student/faculty ratio, graduation rate and percentage of financial need met. “We are pleased by this recognition of the areas where Rhodes is very strong,” says Dave Wottle, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Rhodes. “For example, our student/faculty ratio is one of the lowest on the list.”

Still, he notes, “The last area is clearly the one that placed us lower in the rankings than we might otherwise have been.” Rhodes, which is number 49, meets 84 percent of students’ demonstrated financial need, while 16 of the top 20 listings meet 100 percent and two others are only one percentage point behind. “It is an area in which we are committed to improvement,” he adds.

Wottle also believes that the college’s placement on the “best buy” list will continue a trend that has become more noticeable in recent years.

“If you go back 20 years and look at the numbers, you would see that approximately half of our students came from Tennessee,” he says. “Today, over 75 percent of our students come from other states, a fact that has contributed to our growing national reputation.

“I walk through the residence hall parking lots today and see cars from New York, Illinois, Washington state and California in addition to the southeast region,” Wottle says. “The fact that more families are learning about the high academic quality, commitment to community involvement and other strengths of Rhodes through books such as Colleges That Change Lives and listings in publications such as Kiplinger, U.S. News and World Report and Newsweek make me confident that the trend will continue.”