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Calvin Named a Best Value
April 18, 2005

Calvin College is one of the nation's "best value" undergraduate institutions according to The Princeton Review.

The New York-based education services company chose Calvin as one of 81 schools it recommends in the new 2006 edition of its book, America's Best Value Colleges (Random House / Princeton Review, $15.95), on sale April 19, 2005.

The book is a guide to colleges with outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages and relatively low costs. It includes public and private colleges and universities in 35 states. In Michigan the only two schools selected are Calvin and Albion.

The Princeton Review selected the schools for the book based on data the company obtained from administrators at over 350 colleges, and surveys of students attending them. Factors included academics, tuition GPA (the sticker price minus average amount students receive in scholarships and grants), financial aid (how well colleges meet students' financial need), and student borrowing.

Says Robert Franek of the Princeton Review: "Bottom line: the 81 schools that met our criteria for this book are all great college education deals."

Calvin's Tom McWhertor, vice president for enrollment and external relations, doesn't disagree.

He notes that with about 85% of Calvin's 2005-2006 budget slated to come from tuition and room and board, Calvin has to deftly manage its financial resources in order to both offer a superb academic education and remain a good value.

"Our tuition and room and board charges continue to be well below the national average for four-year private colleges," says McWhertor. "Even more so when you look at schools that are more comparable to Calvin academically."

In fact, this year, Calvin's tuition, room and board and fees are $3,500 below the national average.

And, McWhertor says, Calvin has a strong financial aid program which serves students and their families well. In fact, scholarships and financial aid for 2005-2006 went up 6.5 percent, and Calvin will award almost $48 million in total aid in 2005-2006. Over 90 percent of the Calvin student body will receive some form of financial aid, making the actual cost to attend Calvin far less, in most cases, than the $25,510 figure. The average need-based award at Calvin next year will be close to $13,000.

America's Best Value Colleges has three-page profiles on the colleges, advice about applying for admission and financial aid, and a ranking list of the "Top 10 Best Value Colleges" overall. The profile of Calvin offers a concise summary of Calvin's core characteristics.

"It offers an abundant number of majors, a very rigorous core curriculum, a challenging and competitive honors program, and a dedicated and uniformly excellent faculty," reads the profile. "Religion permeates the campus, and Christian values are a huge and unmistakable priority. On the whole, Calvin students are a conspicuously religious bunch, and they have numerous opportunities to explore faith at an academic and spiritual level. However, Calvin is not the kind of place that shoves religion down its students’ throats."