In issues that starts hitting newsstands August 20, U.S. News & World Report, for the second year in a row, has ranked St. Mary’s University fourth in the West in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category.

The formula used to determine which schools offer the best value, “Great Schools, Great Prices,” relates a school’s high academic quality to cost per student, as indicated by the U.S. News ranking. Thus, the higher the quality of the academic program, and the lower the cost, the better the deal is for a student receiving the average level of need-based financial aid. Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included because the most significant values are among colleges that are above average academically.

The hallmarks of a St. Mary’s education include faculty accessibility and the personal attention our faculty gives to their students,” said President Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D.This directly affects the quality of our academic programs, our high graduation rate and our students’ overall success. St. Mary’s consistently high ranking for quality and value by U.S. News & World Report is a direct reflection of our nearly 60 percent graduation rate of all of our students.”

St. Mary’s is an affordable, private university that makes a quality, Catholic education available to all students. In 2008, 75 percent of St. Mary’s undergraduate student body received financial aid in the form of scholarship and grant based on academic performance and financial need. Last year, the average annual scholarship value was $13,000 and the total average aid award was approximately $19,000.

The 2010 edition of America’s Best Colleges ranked St. Mary’s No. 15 for academic reputation, as well. This is the 16th consecutive year for St. Mary’s to appear in the top tier of colleges and universities listed annually by the national news magazine.

The exclusive America’s Best Colleges rankings, which include more than 1,400 schools nationwide, will be published in the September issue of the U.S. News & World Report magazine.

It is the most thorough examination of how four-year schools compare on a set of 15 widely accepted indicators of excellence. Among the many factors weighed in determining the rankings, the key measures of quality are: peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rate performance (National Universities and Liberal Art Colleges).

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