Sweet Briar College is among 400 colleges and universities ranked on Kiplinger’s annual list of best-value colleges.
As in recent years, Kiplinger features a combined list that ranks the top values for all U.S. colleges and universities, plus lists of the best values in private universities, private liberal arts colleges (which are ranked separately to account for their different missions) and public colleges.
All schools on Kiplinger’s list meet its definition of value: “a high-quality education at an affordable price.” First, the publisher analyzes academic measures, including student-to-faculty ratio, test scores of incoming freshmen, and the percentage of students who return for sophomore year. The most points are awarded for four-year graduation rates because “graduating on time helps keep costs down,” Kiplinger’s argues. However, “that isn’t a reality for many students. To reflect the benefit that comes from earning a degree — even if it takes more than four years — we’ve revised the rankings to award a handful of points for five- and six-year rates. We also reward schools that do a first-rate job of graduating students with financial need.”
Sweet Briar is ranked No. 273 among all colleges and universities and No. 115 among liberal arts colleges. (You can see all of the data here.) Sweet Briar’s excellent, relevant and affordable education is price-competitive with public institutions but with the added distinction of a leadership core curriculum combined with liberal arts and sciences, including an ABET-accredited engineering program. Tuition and fees for 2019-20 are $22,020, and room and board cost $13,250. Thanks to generous donor funding, the College continues to provide substantial merit scholarships and need-based aid to bring the cost of attendance down even more. Additionally, Sweet Briar continues to be recognized among colleges with lowest student loan debt and default rate.
Kiplinger is a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice, available in print and online. It has published a Best College Values list for 20 years.