UVa-Wise second lowest debt among public liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News ranking

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is once among the top public national liberal arts colleges whose students graduate with a low debt load, according to the latest issue of U.S. News and World Report’s annual college guide.

The UVa-Wise Class of 2012 completed their degrees with less debt than students at all but one of the nation’s public liberal arts colleges. UVa-Wise has been among the top three for more than a decade, according to the 2014 college guide, which hits newsstands on Sept. 10.

Among the UVa-Wise Class of 2012, just 56 percent graduated with debt. The average amount of debt for UVa-Wise graduates is $11,524. UVa-Wise finished behind Louisiana State University-Alexandria by $23 in the rankings. In comparison, the average debt load for students at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire is $42,631, the liberal arts college with the largest average student debt.

“When today’s economy has some people questioning the value of a four-year college degree, our consistent ranking by U.S. News and World Report as a college that provides a strong liberal arts education without crippling debt is a source of pride,” UVa. Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry said.

More than 80 percent of UVa-Wise students receive financial aid, one of the highest percentages in Virginia.

“Our mission at UVa-Wise is to work hard to make a four-year degree affordable and accessible to students, and it is tremendously rewarding to know that a primary benefit of a UVa-Wise education is that our graduates begin careers or graduate school with low or no debt,” Henry said.

Rusty Necessary, vice chancellor for enrollment management, said the strong commitment of scholarship donors is reflected in the College’s consistent ranking near or at the top of the low debt load in the survey.

The U.S. News data includes loans taken out by students from financial institutions, federal, state and local governments, and from the colleges themselves. Parents’ loans are not included. The average amount of debt is the average cumulative amount borrowed by those students who incurred debt, not the average for all students.

In the recent rankings, UVa-Wise continues to be listed among the nation’s top public liberal arts colleges. The only branch campus of the University of Virginia, UVa-Wise offers Virginia's only undergraduate degree in software engineering, among 29 other degrees and professional programs in the liberal arts tradition of Thomas Jefferson.

For more information, contact the Office of College Relations at 276-376-1027.