(Posted October 21, 2013)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College climbed 16 places in the year's final major higher education poll by placing 81st in Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranking for "Best Values in Private Liberal Arts Colleges," out on newsstands Nov. 5. The 2014 rankings mark the third time Juniata has been included in the annual rankings by the renowned business publication.

The personal finance magazine poll ranks 100 liberal arts colleges and 100 private universities that "deliver a high quality education at an affordable price." The colleges exemplify the attributes students and parents look for, including small class sizes, good freshman retention rates and a high four-year graduation rate.

"With President Obama's recent emphasis on rating colleges and universities based on their value, our rankings serve as a valuable resource to help students and families make more informed choices."

Janet Bodnar, editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.

The liberal arts college rankings will appear in the December 2013 issue of the magazine.

Juniata, which was ranked 97th last year, is ranked just above Birmingham Southern College, in Birmingham, Ala., at 82nd, and Westmont College, in Santa Barbara, Calif., at 83rd. Ranked just above Juniata is Wabash College, in Crawfordsville, Ind., at 80th, and Augustana College, in Rock Island, Ill., at 79th.

Juniata is one of 13 Pennsylvania colleges to be included on the liberal arts college rankings. Swarthmore College, in Swarthmore, Pa., was rated third in the poll. Other college rankings are: Haverford College, in Haverford, Pa., at 9th; Lafayette College, in Easton, Pa., at 24th; Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pa., at 35th; Bryn Mawr College, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., at 44th; Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, Pa., at 52nd; Gettysburg College, in Gettysburg, Pa., at 54th; Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pa., at 55th; Allegheny College, in Meadville, Pa., at 66th; Muhlenburg College, in Allentown, Pa., at 62nd; Juniata College at 81st; Ursinus College, in Collegeville, Pa., at 87th; and Moravian College, in Bethlehem, Pa., at 86th.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors rank the institutions by measuring academic quality and affordability. The magazine lists the top 100 universities and liberal arts colleges in separate tables, using the Carnegie classification system, which organizes institutions based on the highest level and number of degrees offered.

Some of the factors measured by the magazine include: competitiveness; graduation rate; cost and financial aid; student indebtedness; and academic support.

"With President Obama's recent emphasis on rating colleges and universities based on their value, our rankings serve as a valuable resource to help students and families make more informed choices," says Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine.
Academic criteria include the student admission rate (the number of students accepted out of those who apply), the test scores of incoming freshmen, the ratio of students to faculty members, and the four- and five-year graduation rates. On the cost side, Kiplinger's measures the sticker price, the availability and average amount of need-based and merit-based financial aid, and the average student debt at graduation.

"I think the Great Recession reset the whole understanding of affordability, access and price elasticity," says David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Kiplinger's rankings issue. "These colleges are absolutely determined to drive down their operating costs."

Kiplinger's reports that independent colleges have kept tuition increases to their lowest levels in 40 years -- about 3.6 percent on average.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.