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JCU drops in ‘Great Schools, Great Prices’

September 16th, 2010

John Carroll University fell to 15th place on The U.S. News & World Report rankings for Midwest regional universities under the category “Great Schools, Great Prices.” The rankings, released earlier this month, place JCU, which held the 4th position last year, behind two Ohio schools, Muskingum University (6) and Baldwin-Wallace College (9).

Vice President for Enrollment Brian Williams said the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category is based largely on need-based funding.

“Though our ranking in this category declined from last year, ironically we have awarded more aid to students in the reporting period for this category,” said Williams via e-mail. “Our aid has continued to shift to merit scholarships (academic excellence) as the quality of our students continues to increase.”

According to the magazine’s website, the methodology used to determine the “Great Schools, Great Prices” rankings considered each school’s ratio of quality to price, which accounted for 60 percent of the overall score. The percentage of undergraduates receiving need-based scholarships or grants made up 25 percent of the score, and the average discount accounted for the remainder.

The ratio of quality to price considers each college or university’s score on the comprehensive “Best Colleges 2011” list, on which JCU was ranked 7th in the Midwest. A university’s score in the “Best Colleges” category is divided by the cost to attend the institution for a student who received the average need-based aid for the previous school year to compute the ratio of quality to price.

The average discount is computed by dividing the average need-based scholarship or grant money offered to undergraduates during the 2009-2010 school year by the total cost to attend an institution in the same year.

JCU provides 55.1 percent of undergraduates with need-based funds and offers an average discount of 39 percent off the total cost to attend, per the rankings.

Comparatively, 81.8 percent of Muskingum’s undergraduate population and 80 percent of BWC students receive need-based grants. The two institutions offer average discounts of 47 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Williams said, “We’re proud of the talent of our students to whom we are awarding aid and scholarships to continue to keep John Carroll affordable while attracting more talented students each year – even though this category [Great Schools, Great Prices] of ranking doesn’t reflect it directly.”

It should be noted that U.S. News made some changes to the methodology used to determine the “Best Colleges” rankings this year.

Graduation rate determined 7.5 percent of universities’ total score, up from five percent in the past.

Also, survey data from university and college presidents, deans and provosts was reduced to account for 15 percent of the score, down from 25 percent. High school counselors were surveyed, and the data from those surveys was factored into the rankings for the first time, contributing to 7.5 percent of a university’s ranking.