The ranking comes only a day after President Barack Obama announced his desire for a national ranking system of colleges to allow families the ability to better decide on which college is best for them.
Milligan is ranked fifth in the nation among baccalaureate colleges and is No. 92 out of all 1,572 colleges and universities included in Washington Monthly’s broader college rankings to be released next week. In addition, Milligan is one of only three Tennessee schools named to the top 100, according to the school.
Milligan President Bill Greer said if a ranking system similar to one suggested by Obama is implemented, the Washington Monthly ranking is evidence the school is on the right track.
“We fee like we are already a little bit ahead of the curve on that,” he said in a phone interview Friday. “They’re (students) really getting a lot for the money,” Greer said.
The rankings included variables like cost, with the thought being that the more informed a potential student is about the cost and the possible value the degree will have in the marketplace, the less debt a student will have after school.
Greer said a college degree is most definitely worth it because graduates typically have higher incomes and lower unemployment numbers.
According to Milligan, Washington Monthly used four criteria, including Pell grant, graduation rates and graduate earning statistics, to select the “Best Bang for the Buck” schools. After the list was compiled, schools were ranked based on their net price of attendance. Net price is the average tuition that first-time, full-time students from families with an annual income of $75,000 or less actually pay after subtracting the need-based financial aid they receive.
Milligan’s net cost is $1,600 below other local private colleges in Northeast Tennessee and Virginia, and the total cost is $6,500 below the national average for private colleges. Ninety-eight percent of students receive financial aid and do not pay the full sticker price.
Milligan’s federal student loan debt at graduation last year was $4,000 below the national average. Fewer Milligan students borrow federal loans than at most local colleges, and the amount they borrow is less than all local schools, public and private. Furthermore, the loan default rate for students at Milligan is one third that of local colleges and the national average.
“So just dollar for dollar, we compare favorably from a cost perspective,” Greer said. “Our freshman to sophomore retention is 27 percent higher than the average of any other school in this region.”
Milligan has an 80 percent overall retention rate and the graduation rate is 29 percent higher than the regional average, Greer said.
“So our numbers show great outcomes and they show great value,” he said. “We’re happy to say at Milligan we have the proof to say it’s absolutely, positively worth the investment.”
Founded in 1969, Washington Monthly is a bimonthly publication covering politics, government, culture and the media. For a complete listing of “The Best Bang for the Buck” schools, visit www.washingtonmonthly.com.
To learn more about Milligan, visit www.milligan.edu.