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January 4, 2013

SUNY Oneonta among best-value colleges

BY DENISE RICHARDSON
The Daily Star

---- — A spotlight is shining on SUNY Oneonta for its value in education.

SUNY Oneonta has been ranked among the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges’’ by Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine.

On the list of 100 schools, the State University College at Oneonta ranked No. 59 for in-state students and No. 45 for out-of-state students. SUNY Oneonta is among 10 SUNY institutions included in the list.

The list is a result of a study using data on about 600 public four-year schools, and determining factors include financial aid, student indebtedness, and academic competitiveness, Kiplinger Personal Finance said in its report.

“It’s always gratifying when external rankings confirm the value of a SUNY Oneonta education,’’ SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski said. “Being named a ‘best value’ by Kiplinger’s for seven consecutive years assures current and prospective students, and their parents, of our high quality.’’

In a related ranking, SUNY Oneonta was No. 3 among on the magazine’s list of “10 Public Colleges with the Lowest Debt for Graduating Students.’’ The SUNY University at Buffalo was No. 5 on this Kiplinger listing.

The No. 3 ranking recognizes schools that offer academic quality as well as enough financial support to help students earn their diploma while keeping student debt manageable, the SUNY Oneonta release said. A quarter of the SUNY Oneonta Class of 2011 had no debt at graduation.

Each year, SUNY Oneonta awards nearly $2.5 million in scholarships based on academic achievement, the report said, and awards range from $1,000 to $5,870.

A quarter of the SUNY Oneonta Class of 2011 had no debt at graduation, the college release said.

About 75 percent of the 5,852 undergraduate students borrow money for their education at SUNY Oneonta, the report said. Annual costs for in-state students is $18,119 and for out-of-state students, $27,369.

Non-New York state residents comprise about 3 percent of the SUNY Oneonta’s enrollment, college officials said.

At graduation from SUNY Oneonta, the average debt is $13,697, which is about half the national average of $26,600, the report said.

The ranking was another feather in SUNY Oneonta’s cap.

“We also recognize the importance of affordability and are pleased that our graduates leave campus with some of the smallest student debts in the nation,” Kleniewski said in a prepared statement.

Hartwick College in Oneonta, which enrolls about 1,500 students, wasn’t on Kiplinger’s list of Best Values in Private Colleges issued in October.

However, in September, U.S. News & World Report ranked Hartwick College among the first-tier of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the 2013 edition of its “Best Colleges” guide. Hartwick was No. 164th among liberal arts colleges overall, up seven spots from last year.

U.S. News and World Report ranked SUNY Oneonta among the top 50 regional universities in the North, the college’s release said. SUNY Oneonta was also one of only five schools in the region to earn a spot on U.S. News’ “Least Debt” list, which highlights institutions whose 2011 graduates had the lightest debt loads.