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Christendom College ranked sixth for best value

By Ryan Cornell

Christendom College is ranked sixth in a list of the "Best Values in Private Colleges Under $20,000" published by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine in its December issue.

The colleges were ranked by net price, which the magazine explained is typically half of the sticker price and is the annual cost in tuition, fees, books, room and board after need- and merit-based aid.

The sticker price of Christendom College provided by Kiplinger's is $31,650, though its $15,192 of average need-based aid drops that number down to an average net cost of $16,458.

The Front Royal-based Catholic liberal arts college ranked after Berea College -- which boasts an average net cost of $4,451 -- Brigham Young University, Principia College, Yale University and Amherst College. Rounding out the rest of the Top 10 after Christendom was Harvard University, Wofford College, Centenary College of Louisiana and Thomas Aquinas College.

Niall O'Donnell, associate director of marketing and public relations at Christendom, said the college recently updated its financial aid program, based off GPA and SAT scores, which might have had a positive effect on its ranking.

"We made it consistent all four years," he said. "Before, you used to get financial aid the first year and it would decrease after that. Now you get it all four years."

The 400-student enrollment might be on the smaller end of other colleges on the list, but he's optimistic the distinction will help draw more attention.

"It's a selling point in a big way," said O'Donnell, who found out about the Top 10 ranking on Friday. "There was a recent survey done looking at what parents look for most in a college. Price was one of the top considerations."

This isn't the first time Kiplinger's has spilled ink on Christendom's value.

Last month, the magazine ranked Christendom as the 49th best value among private liberal arts colleges in the U.S. In December 2011, a similar list of private colleges with the lowest sticker price ranked the college third.

"We're very excited and, in light of this struggling economy, we're happy to be included in this list," O'Donnell said.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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