SCSU has been ranked in two national magazines in terms of value and affordability. Forbes magazine ranked SCSU as 556th out of 2,870 four-year colleges in the U.S. Money magazine gave SCSU a ranking of 257th.
Money magazine’s ranking placed SCSU in the elite 9 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities, based on quality of education, affordability, and outcomes.
Forbes’ ranking placed SCSU in the elite 23 percent of colleges and universities based on student satisfaction, post-graduate success, student debt, graduation rate and academic success. John E. Brown, a staff member in Admissions described a subset in the Forbes ranking for affordability, and said there were only 20 schools ranked ahead of SCSU for affordability. Brown said SCSU is in the top 3 percent for affordability, a rise from being in the top 4 percent last year.
Among all Minnesota schools, SCSU ranked third for affordability. The top two schools, Carleton College and Macalaster College, are more than twice as expensive as SCSU, according to Forbes magazine.
Brown talked about how the rankings affect prospective students and their families. “It probably resonates with parents more. It reaffirms the type of educational experience they’ll have here,” Brown said.
“It is beneficial to be recognized this way,” SCSU Financial Aid Director Mike Uran said. “The message the rankings show is that we’re having an impact,” Uran said.“We want to position ourselves as an institution that can help students and families achieve a higher education at an affordable rate,” Uran said.
“We’ve done all we can to hold tuition down,” Uran said. Uran said there is a differentiation in tuition costs between other MnSCU schools that have a banded tuition, and SCSU which has a per credit rate.
Other causes for keeping tuition costs down at SCSU are always being efficient, Uran said, in maintaining the campus and providing services to students. Uran said SCSU has historically maintained itself with a minimum investment.
Brown said the biggest overarching aspect of SCSU is value.
“Value for your educational dollar,” Brown said. Brown broke down value into several different aspects, including student life, diversity on campus, clubs and athletics. Brown stressed postgraduate success as being valuable as well.
In terms of tuition, Brown said that SCSU makes a concerted effort not to nickel and dime students. One way that students can try to cut down on tuition is getting a degree completed in four years. Brown said that in the U.S. only a quarter of students graduate. Uran emphasized the importance of efficient degree completion.
“Finishing their degrees in a timely fashion has a big impact on the cost of their education,” Uran said. Uran said he encourages students to be in contact with their advisors and be in touch with their academic plan.
There are other ways that the office of financial aid tries to support students. “We try to position ourselves to educate students through information on our website, through outreach that our staff does,” Uran said, referring to financial aid nights that financial aid staff does at local high schools.
Brown talked about the communication admissions has been doing with the various academic departments, and the different marketing strategies admissions has used to attract prospective students, and remain retention. This includes new academic marketing pages for the major programs on the SCSU website.
Campus tours are now becoming smaller and more personal, which Brown said has been successful. Although there has been recent turnover in admissions staff, Brown described new staff as being energetic and he said he is optimistic about this coming school year.