“Best Bang for the Buck:” SMWC ranks 13th in college guide rating for quality and affordability

February 22nd, 2017 | SMWC

Washington Monthly

An annual college guide has included Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) in an “exclusive list” ranking colleges on quality of education and affordability for non-wealthy students.

SMWC ranked 13th out of 100 Midwest schools in Washington Monthly’s 2016 “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings.

“For the past four years, we’ve ranked America’s colleges and universities based on their ‘Bang for the Buck’ – that is, the extent to which they charge students who aren’t rich a reasonable price for quality education that will advance them in their careers,” Washington Monthly College Guide Data Manager Robert Kelchen wrote in an introduction to the rankings published last fall.

It is the magazine’s “exclusive list of schools that help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices,” it said.

Among other data, the college guide used the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard which includes how much students earn 10 years after enrolling at a college, whether they are paying down student loans and the percent of first-generation students it enrolls.

According to the scorecard, the median earnings of former SMWC students who received federal financial aid 10 years after entering college is a little more than $31,000. The average annual cost of attendance for families with a household income below $75,000 is nearly $13,000.

Washington Monthly used federal data to examine colleges’ commitments to educating a diverse group of students. It said 47 percent of SMWC students are first generation and 50 percent are receiving federal need-based aid.

SMWC is a coeducational Catholic, private liberal arts college located five miles northwest of Terre Haute. Its mission is to empower students to think critically, engage in lifelong leadership, and effect positive change in a spirit of service and social responsibility. Ninety-five percent of its campus students are receiving financial assistance. It has $5 million in scholarships available to students.