Generous scholarship donors and dedicated financial aid and admissions staff have once again given The University of Virginia’s College at Wise national recognition for taking extra steps to ensure its students graduate with a low debt load, according to the latest issue of U.S. News and World Report’s annual college guide.

UVa-Wise is ranked second on the list of top public liberal arts colleges in the nation whose students graduate with a low debt load. The small college is consistently listed in the Top 10 in the annual rankings, often ranked first, second or third in the public category.

According to the college guide, the UVa-Wise Class of 2016 completed their degrees with less debt than students at any of the nation’s other public liberal arts colleges except New College of Florida. University of North Carolina-Asheville was ranked fourth among public liberal arts colleges on the lowest debt rankings. All three colleges are members of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges.

“With the 15th lowest debt among all national liberal arts colleges and the second lowest debt among public national liberal arts colleges, our graduates can begin their careers or attend graduate and professional school without immediately facing the worry of massive student debt,” UVa-Wise Chancellor Donna Henry said. “Student loan debt remains a concern to families and students, and our ability to develop a comprehensive student aid package and keep costs limited remains important to UVa-Wise.”

Henry believes the latest ranking, which hits newsstands on Sept. 12, highlights the importance of the scholarship donors, faculty and staff at UVa-Wise.

Statistics show that a majority of UVa-Wise students are eligible for federal PELL grants, which is one of the highest percentages for Virginia colleges. In addition,  many of the PELL eligible students have an anticipated family contribution of zero for college tuition. Three-fourths of UVa-Wise students qualify for some form of financial aid. The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia reports that more than 80 percent of UVa-Wise students come from under represented populations such as first generation college student, PELL eligible, minority or from certain Virginia counties listed by SCHEV as under represented.