The latest ranking of best colleges by U.S. News and World Report places Virginia Intermont College in the top 20 in its Best Value listing of Southern Comprehensive Colleges.
The “Best Value” designator compares the cost of the institution, percentage of students receiving financial aid, and the average real cost to each student. According the the magazine’s website, “to determine which schools offer the best value, we use a formula that relates a school’s academic quality, as indicated by its U.S. News ranking, to the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of financial aid. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal. We consider only schools ranked in the top half of their categories, since we believe the most significant values are among colleges that are above average academically.” Over 85% of those attending the Bristol, Va., college receive aid. The college provides $2.6 million in scholarships each year.
“This ranking pleases me as much as anything. We know we provide a high quality of educational experience, and we have been willing to offset the cost of that with institutional financial aid. If a student wants an Intermont education, we want to make it happen,” said VI President, Dr. Stephen Greiner.
The college is tied for third in its category for schools with classes of fewer than 20 students. “We assure prospective students that they will have the attention of their professors,” says Everett Honaker, vice president for enrollment management, “and this designation validates that point.”
“Intermont uses no teaching assistants,” Dr. Michael Puglisi, vice president of academic affairs, added. “We admit a very high number of first generation students, those who are the first in their family to pursue a baccalaureate degree. These students benefit from the close mentoring of their faculty.”
Greiner also related, “Another dimension of value is ‘return on investment,’ and we are very pleased with the high number of our graduates who report being employed within a year after graduation.” The college’s career development office collects this data and reports it by major field of study. Even in a tight job market, Intermont grads have fared well. Of those 2001 graduates responding to our follow up survey, 92% were working one year after graduation.