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January 30, 2014

Report: SUNY Oneonta among best for avoiding debt

By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Students at State University College at Oneonta should be pleased to hear that their education won’t leave them in overwhelming debt.

The university was recently ranked among the “10 Best Public Colleges With Lowest Debt at Graduation” by Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine.

SUNY Oneonta was ranked No. 3 on the list, which only included one other SUNY school, SUNY Buffalo, ranked No. 5.

Earlier this month, SUNY Oneonta was voted No. 59 in Kiplinger’s“100 Best Values in Public Colleges,” from which the ten public colleges with the lowest debt were chosen.

According to the magazine’s report, the 10 schools were chosen because they “offer academic quality as well as enough financial support to help students earn their diploma while keeping student debt manageable.”

The average debt at graduation for a SUNY Oneonta student, the report stated, is $13,697, about half the national average, which is $26,600.

Hal Legg, SUNY Oneonta’s director of communications, said the recognition reflects the “strong culture of philanthropy” at the college. This, he said, is increasingly important to prospective students and their families.

“While loans make college attendance possible for many,” Legg said, “we want our graduates to be able to focus on starting careers or pursuing graduate school, rather than worrying about repaying debt.”

Legg said the college awarded over 1,600 scholarships to students this year, 600 more than last year. He said a “scholarships” category is one of the four priorities in the school’s “Possibilities Full of Promise” campaign, in progress now.

“Our campus community, our alumni, and our many other supporters all understand that investment in our students today will help them thrive in years to come,” Legg said.

According to Kiplinger’s report, SUNY Oneonta’s annual in-state cost is $18,119 and its out-of-state cost is $27,369.

The report stated that the school awards more than $2.5 million annually in scholarships to students displaying academic achievement. The scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,870, the report said.

“Although our Kiplinger’s ranking is gratifying,” Legg said, “helping students to succeed is the real reward.”