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UVa-Wise students graduate with least debt among public liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News ranking

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is 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 2011 completed their degrees with less debt than students at any of the nation’s other public liberal arts colleges and number three among the nation’s liberal arts colleges when private colleges are included.  UVa-Wise has consistently ranked among the top in this category, according to the annual college guide, which hits newsstands on Sept. 18.

Half of the UVa-Wise Class of 2011 graduated without debt. The average amount of debt for UVa-Wise graduates who used student loans is $10,180.

“With the third lowest debt among all national liberal arts colleges and the lowest debt among public national liberal arts colleges, graduates from UVa-Wise have the ability to provide for themselves and the community upon graduation instead of providing for their student loan,” said Sim Ewing, vice chancellor for finance and administration. “The efforts of the college to control costs while providing an aggressive student aid package is clearly demonstrated in the average student debt decreasing by 31.2 percent in 2011 over 2010.”


Rusty Necessary, vice chancellor for enrollment management, said the ranking shows a deep commitment by scholarship donors and others at UVa-Wise.


“At UVa-Wise, we are always concerned about affordability,” Necessary said. “Our financial aid team works diligently to help students cover their college expenses, looking only to borrow when all grant, scholarship, and work opportunities are exhausted.  Having access to a high quality academic program, dedicated faculty and staff, and first rate facilities at less than half the national average indebtedness of college graduates speaks volumes about the UVa-Wise experience.”

In comparison, the average debt load for students at Burlington College in Vermont is $55, 240. Burlington is the liberal arts college with the largest average student debt.

“With only 1600 full-time students, small classes, an attractive residential campus, and individualized attention, UVa-Wise is a very special institution,” said Sanders Huguenin, provost and vice president of academic affairs. “Actually, there are a lot of schools in America like UVa-Wise.  Unfortunately, the vast majority are pricey private institutions that are beyond the reach of many Americans.  UVa-Wise combines the personalized, small college education of a private school with reasonable public university tuition and an impressive scholarship endowment.  That truly makes us the small liberal arts college that anyone can afford.”

In the recent rankings, UVa-Wise continues to be listed among the nation’s top public liberal arts colleges. The nation’s 266 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 more other degrees and professional programs in the liberal arts tradition of Thomas Jefferson.

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