By Amy Ash Nixon, VTDigger.org
A recent listing of the 100 most affordable small colleges in the country includes three of Vermont State College system’s four-year institutions: Castleton, Johnson and Lyndon.
The list was published last month by a website called Best Value Schools.
The website whittled the top 100 from 700 eligible schools overall. Best Value excludes community colleges, specialized and graduate schools, and considers only schools with fewer than 4,000 students.
Lyndon State College came in 55th on the list, which ranked 100 as the costliest on the affordability list. The net cost annually for students at Lyndon is $13,469.
Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, N.C., ranked first at $1,993 a year; Young Harris College in Young Harris, Ga., was 100th on the list at $15,771.
Johnson State came in at 61, with a net cost of attendance of $13,775.
Castleton State was 85th, with a net cost of $15,161.
The website calculated the net price of attendance – the published tuition minus government aid, scholarships and institutional grants – to come up with the average out-of-pocket costs students and their families actually pay for college.
They also factored in innovative academic offerings, small class sizes, and value for the educational investment, the website said.
Jeb Spaulding, chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges, said that having three of the VSC colleges included in the list of the 100 most affordable colleges is good news.
Vermont State Colleges are committed to helping students who may struggle with getting into college to stay in school and complete their degrees, he said.
Vermont is near the bottom in the nation for state aid to higher education. State funding makes up between 15 percent and 17 percent of the colleges’ revenue, Spaulding said.
The average debt load for a bachelor’s degree for a student coming out of the Vermont State College system is about $30,000; for an associate’s degree at Community College of Vermont, about $15,000; and about $20,000 for an associate’s degree student at Vermont Technical College.