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UVa-Wise students earn degrees with least debt among public liberal arts colleges

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is the top public national liberal arts college whose students graduate with a low debt load, according to the Aug. 17 issue of U.S. News and World Report’s annual college guide.
The UVa-Wise Class of 2009 completed its degrees with less debt than students at the nation’s other public liberal arts colleges. UVa-Wise remains at the top of the lowest debt list of public liberal arts colleges for the seventh consecutive year, according to the annual college guide. Seven private liberal arts colleges were ranked above UVa-Wise in the overall lowest debt list of liberal arts colleges.
Among the UVa-Wise Class of 2009, 58 percent graduated without debt. The average amount of debt for UVa-Wise graduates who used student loans is $12,120. In comparison, the average debt load for students at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire is $41,848, the liberal arts college with the largest average student debt.
“It is always an honor for UVa-Wise to be ranked as the top public liberal arts college that graduates students with the lowest debt,” said UVa-Wise Chancellor David J. Prior. “Our philosophy is to package financial aid so that our students graduate with as little debt as possible. Our students receive a quality UVa-Wise education with a manageable debt load.”
Rusty Necessary, vice chancellor for enrollment management, credits the College’s strong commitment to its students, generous scholarship donors and the solid investment of Virginia for keeping UVa-Wise high on the lowest debt ranking for many years.
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 nation’s liberal arts colleges – most of which are private – emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences.
The only branch campus of the University of Virginia, UVa-Wise offers Virginia's only undergraduate degree in software engineering, among 28 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.