Lawrence University is ranked as one of the “Best Value Colleges” in the country by The Princeton Review.
The 2021 Best Value list, released Tuesday, includes Lawrence as one of the top 200 private colleges across the country based on academics, costs, financial aid, debt, graduation rates, and alumni career and salary data.
“We are happy that, after they evaluated some 650 colleges on more than 40 data points, The Princeton Review has determined Lawrence University provides one of the nation’s best returns on investment,” said Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communications. “For students and families who are making the decision to invest in a Lawrence experience, this is welcome news.”
The schools listed are not ranked in order.
“The 200 schools we chose are those we recommend as offering the best ROI (return on investment),” The Princeton Review said in announcing the rankings. “Our ROI rating tallies considered more than 40 data points, broadly covering academics, affordability, and career preparation.”
Lawrence recently marked the close of its Be the Light! Campaign, which raised $232.6 million. That includes more than $91 million for Full Speed to Full Need (FSFN), an ongoing initiative that provides endowed scholarships to help bridge the difference between a student’s financial aid and their demonstrated need.
The impact of the FSFN efforts can be seen in the lessening of the average debt for Lawrence graduates over the past five years. The average student debt has dropped to $29,118, its lowest mark in 10 years. It hit a high mark of $34,573 in 2015-16 and has dropped steadily each year since. The percentage of Lawrence’s students graduating with debt dropped to 56% in 2019-20, well below the 75% of a decade earlier.
“The schools we name as our Best Value Colleges for 2021 comprise only just over 1% of the nation’s four-year colleges,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief. “They are distinctive in their programs, size, region, and type, yet they are similar in three areas. Every school we selected offers outstanding academics, generous financial aid and/or a relative low cost of attendance, and stellar career services.”
The Princeton Review is a tutoring, test prep, and college admission services company.
When it comes to colleges and universities preparing
students for an impactful life, few do it better than Lawrence University.
Lawrence is the No. 3 impact school in the country in a new ranking released by The Princeton Review. The 2020 Best Impact School ranking, one spot up from where Lawrence landed a year ago, focuses on both the student experience on campus and how alumni perceive their careers. It suggests Lawrence’s liberal arts vision is alive and well, that students are being prepared for a life well lived.
The ranking comes as part of The Princeton Review’s annual Best Value Colleges project, a listing of 200 schools that are considered to have exceptional return on investment. Lawrence again made the list. The 200 schools are not ranked in order; the editors highlight those that made the cut amid 656 colleges and universities that were evaluated on more than 40 data points covering academics, affordability, and career preparation.
Within those 200, The Princeton Review breaks down rankings in seven categories, one of them being the 25 Best Impact Schools in the country.
Climbing to No. 3 — only Wesleyan and Southwestern
universities finished ahead of Lawrence — is particularly satisfying because of
what it says about a Lawrence education and how that then transfers to the job
market and career exploration. It measures on-campus experiences such as
student engagement, service, government, and sustainability and then surveys
alumni to rate how meaningful they believe their work life is.
“I see it and hear it when I meet with our alumni around the world,” said Ken Anselment, vice president for enrollment and communication. “They point back to their time at Lawrence as unlocking something for them, discovering an interest or talent they didn’t know they had until they started working with professors here who helped guide them in that discovery. That’s one of the benefits of attending a college like Lawrence where our faculty are so deeply invested in helping our students become even better versions of themselves, and it’s a transformation that lasts a lifetime.”
Lawrence has doubled down on efforts to mentor students outside of the classroom throughout the college journey, taking a holistic approach in everything from wellness and spirituality to leadership and career preparation. With an 8-to-1 faculty to student ratio and a liberal arts mantra that prepares students for lifelong learning, Lawrence puts its students in positions to launch into careers and service work that are filled with meaning, said Christopher Card, Lawrence’s vice president for student life.
“There are enough colleges on the market where one can just
go to it and do the basic academic requirements and move in and move out and go
on to their next chapter,” Card said. “I don’t think that’s why students come
to Lawrence. I think they come here because they expect a particular
relationship to emerge — certainly with solid academics and rigor. They want to
be challenged. They want to know they are getting a first-rate education but
also a first-rate experience outside of the classroom in terms of their own
personal growth and development.”
The Princeton Review data includes survey answers from alumni who speak to whether their jobs have “high meaning.” Lawrence’s high ranking reflects that alumni overwhelmingly say yes and that their career accomplishments have been fueled by their Lawrence education.
Lawrence has ramped up its efforts to better connect those alumni with today’s students. The 2019 launch of the endowed Riaz Waraich Dean of the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC) position has accelerated efforts to re-energize career exploration and preparation. The newly debuted Viking Connect program is at the front end of those efforts, tapping alumni to serve as mentors for students interested in the same field.
“Our alums are coming back full force to offer their
services,” Card said. “I think that speaks to their own experiences and wanting
to give back to support our students here.”
This is the 13th year The Princeton Review has put together its list of the 200 Best Value Colleges. It factors in academics, cost, financial aid, graduation rates, student debt, alumni salaries, and alumni job satisfaction.
Lawrence continues to score well in the areas of cost and
financial aid as its Full Speed to Full Need initiative continues to produce
results. More than $82 million has been raised for scholarships that help cover
the gap between a student’s ability to pay — based on family income — and other
available financial aid.
While student debt nationally has risen significantly in recent years, the Full Speed to Full Need initiative, part of the $220 million Be the Light! campaign, has helped reverse that trend for Lawrence students. The average student debt for new Lawrence graduates has dropped to $29,504, its lowest mark in 10 years and below the national average of $32,731.
“This is one
of those rankings that I’m really happy to share with prospective students and
families, because it gets at one of those essential questions so many are
trying to answer — even if they haven’t articulated it yet — which is, ‘How
might our investment in this college set up our student to live a great life?’”
Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: email@example.com
Lawrence University is once again prominently featured in Forbes’ annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges.” The 2012 Forbes report, prepared by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, lists Lawrence as 63rd among 650 of the nation’s leading undergraduate colleges, 57th among private colleges, and 8th among Midwestern colleges. For the fourth straight year, Forbes ranked Lawrence University first among 13 Wisconsin colleges included on the list.
The rankings are based on five categories, including post graduate career success, student satisfaction and retention rate, student debt, four year graduation rate, and competitive awards.
Earlier this week, The Princeton Review also named Lawrence University as one of the nation’s best, including Lawrence in its 2012 edition of “The 376 Best Colleges.”
Developed in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, the “Guide to 286 Green Colleges” is a comprehensive guidebook focused solely on institutions of higher education that have demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.
The guide profiles the nation’s most environmentally-responsible campuses and highlights each institution’s ecological commitment based on several criteria, including the USGBC’s LEED green building certification program, use of renewable energy resources, formal sustainability committees and recycling and conservation programs.
Lawrence was cited in the guide for its Green Roots program, a two-year-long environmental initiative launched in 2008 designed to establish a framework to develop institutional policies and procedures to promote environmental awareness on the campus.
Other factors in Lawrence’s inclusion in the Green Guide included the Warch Campus Center’s LEED Gold certification, the student-run sustainable garden that provides fresh produce to the dining hall, the composting of all food prep waste and the college’s vibrant environmental studies program that draws faculty from 11 different departments and focuses on research projects that lead to solutions for real world environmental problems.
More recently, Lawrence installed its first solar panel and placed ninth nationally among 346 colleges in the 2010 Recyclemania competition’s per capita recycling category.
“Over the past two years, Lawrence has made great strides in its efforts to improve our sustainability and instill environmentally sound practices, from reducing our water and natural gas consumption to dramatically cutting our paper usage” said Jeff Clark, associate professor of geology and faculty associate to the president for the Green Roots initiative. “It’s gratifying to have those efforts recognized.”
The 286 schools included in the guide were selected on the basis of their 2009 “Green Rating” scores in The Princeton Review’s annual college guidebook. The “Green Rating” is a numerical score from 60–99 based on several data points developed in conjunction with the USGBC. Lawrence’s green rating was 83.
According to a recent survey conducted by The Princeton Review, 64 percent of college applicants and their parents indicated information about a school’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it.
“Students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending colleges and universities that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. “We created this guide to help them evaluate how institutions focus on environmental responsibility so that they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process.”
APPLETON, WIS. — Lawrence University provides one of the nation’s best undergraduate educational experiences according to the 2010 edition of The Princeton Review’s annual book “The Best 371 Colleges” released today (7/28).
The book profiles 371 colleges — less than 15% of America’s 2,500 four-year colleges — along with rating scores in eight categories. The book also includes ranking lists of top 20 schools in more than 60 categories ranging from most politically active to best athletic facilities. Those rankings are based on more than 122,000 surveys, in which students were asked to rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their campus experiences.
Lawrence ranked in the top 10 nationally in two of the student-survey categories: sixth in most accessible professors and 10th in best college theatre program, up from 12th in the same category last year. A college’s appearance on a ranking list is the result of a high consensus among its surveyed students about a topic compared with that of students at other schools answering the same survey question(s) on the ranking topic.
Using a scale of 60-99, with 99 the best, Lawrence earned rating scores of 96 in academics, up from 90 a year ago, a 95 in financial aid, 94 in admissions, 92 in campus life, which measures students’ satisfaction with their lives outside the classroom, including the location of the campus, the comfort of residence halls and the quality of food, among other factors. Lawrence also received an 83 in the “green” category, a rating based on a schools’ environmental commitments. The Princeton Review does not rank the colleges in the book 1 to 371 in any single category.
“Our faculty do an extraordinary job of making themselves accessible to our students and in providing opportunities for individualized learning experiences. It’s great to have The Princeton Review affirm that level of faculty engagement,” said Steve Syverson, vice president for enrollment and dean of admission. “While the outstanding ratings for our academics and financial aid were not surprising, we are delighted at the improved rating of the ‘greenness’ of our campus community and expect it to rise even more next year. Many faculty and students have made significant commitments to enhancing our institutional commitment to environmental stewardship.”
In its profile of the college, The Princeton Review defined the Lawrence experience as “intense academics extreme, involvement in extracurricular activities, and a near-obsession with music.” Quoting students who were surveyed, the book describes Lawrence as a place where “professors are really willing to work one-on-one with students.” The student body is seen as having a wide variety of interests, producing “an intellectually stimulating– not academically cutthroat–environment” that fosters both academic and personal growth.
“Each of our ‘best’ colleges offers great academics,” says book author Robert Franek, vice president of publishing at The Princeton Review. “However, we don’t rank schools academically because our goal is to help students find and get into the best school for them. We tally ranking lists based how students at these schools rated their campus experiences, plus ratings based on institutional data we collect on issues important to applicants. It’s all about the fit.”
The book’s entire ranking lists can be found at www.PrincetonReview.com.