WCU Among Money Magazine’s Top 175 Best Value Colleges in America

Ken Knickerbocker
West Chester University is listed at No. 174 among 739 schools nationwide ranked for their value by Money magazine.

West Chester University is listed at No. 174 among 739 schools nationwide ranked for their value by Money magazine. This puts WCU among the Top 10 in Pennsylvania.

To find the schools that successfully combine quality and affordability, Money’s researchers weighed 27 factors — comprising more than 20,000 data points, including tuition, family borrowing, and career earnings — in three categories: quality of education, affordability, and outcomes.

Each year, the researchers fine-tune their methodology. Considering the economic impact of the pandemic, this year, they increased the emphasis on affordability. For the 2020 rankings, affordability accounts for 40 percent of the ranking, while the other two categories account for 30 percent each.

Only institutions that met these requirements were evaluated:

  • have at least 500 students
  • have sufficient, reliable data to be analyzed
  • not be in financial distress
  • have a graduation rate that was at or above the median for its institutional category (public, private, or historically black college or university), or have a high “value-added” graduation rate (in other words, score in the top 25 percent of graduation rates after accounting for the average test scores and percentage of low-income students among its enrollees)

The researchers made this caveat about standardized tests: “This spring, colleges made a near-universal shift to ‘test-optional’ by giving applicants the choice of whether to submit SAT or ACT scores. In most cases, the changes were announced as a temporary move as a result of the pandemic, and it’s unclear how many colleges will stick with the policy.

But even before this spring, an increasing number of colleges were going test-optional. If this continues to grow in popularity to where a large minority of students at colleges in Money’s universe do not submit scores, we’ll have to evaluate the effect that has on our rankings, particularly our value-add assessments that rely heavily on scores to predict academic performance.”

Click here to read Money magazine’s full methodology.

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Top photo credit: West Chester University 2019NewStudentOrientation15 via photopin (license)