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Appalachian named in Washington Monthly’s “Best Bang for the Buck” list

BOONE—Appalachian State University has been ranked No. 9 in the Southeast on Washington Monthly magazine’s “Best Bang for the Buck” list. The list is included in the publication’s annual college guide.

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A total of 288 master’s degree granting institutions in the Southeast are included on the list that looks at an institution’s admission rate, student loan default rate, graduation rate, family income, the percent of students receiving Pell grants, the net price to all students, family income and average SAT or ACT scores. According to data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 26 percent of full-time, undergraduate students in 2012-13 received Pell grants, the latest year for which data is available.

“Appalachian’s affordability, its focus on students and its history of offering an exceptional educational experience continue to draw students from across North Carolina and the Southeast to our campus,” said Chancellor Sheri N. Everts.

The magazine lists Appalachian’s net price for all students as $8,681. The price for students whose family income is less than $30,000 is $5,339, while the price for students whose family income exceeds $75,000 is $14,768. This measure reflects the average price for the 2009-10 through 2011-12 academic years (tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses minus any grant aid received) that students receiving any grant aid from the institution, state, and/or federal government should expect to pay for college.

The university has a 2.5 percent student loan default rate, which is well below the national average of approximately 13 percent. A total of 65.7 percent of students graduate within six years, when considering the average six-year institutional graduation rate for first-time, full-time students from 2010 through 2012.

The 2015 Best Bang for the Buck list is included in the magazine’s “The Other College Guide: A Roadmap to the Right School for You.” The magazine reports that it “rates colleges that are doing the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.”

“By opening their doors to more low-income students who qualify academically, colleges with Pell enrollment deficits could make a significant dent in helping more high-achieving, low-income students graduate from college,” said Mamie Voight, director of policy research at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. “If more universities worked to increase their Pell enrollment, far more high-achieving, low-income students would stand a fighting chance of earning the college credentials they need.”