U.S. News raises EC’s rank to No. 4 in ‘Best Value,’ highlighting academic programs

EC ranks among the top five ‘Best Value’ schools in the Midwest in a U.S. News report. (Illustration by Amarelis Morales)

EC was featured in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking lists – taking fourth place in best value schools in the Midwest as well as tenth place in best schools in the Midwest for veterans.

The criteria for best value schools is determined by three main factors: a ratio of price to quality, the amount of need based aid given out, and average discount.

According to the U.S. News and World Report’s website, “a school’s overall score in the 2017 Best Colleges rankings was divided by the net cost for the 2015-2016 academic year to a student receiving the average need-based financial aid award in scholarships or grants.”

After weighing these factors, EC was ranked fourth in the Midwest behind Valparaiso University, Dominican University and Aquinas College.

Tim Ricordati, interim dean of admissions, discussed what the admissions department is doing to communicate EC’s value to incoming students.

“In terms of communicating this to incoming students, this past year we have done a very good job both in print and electronic messaging and in our one-on-one meetings with students and parents by our Admissions Counselors to convey the outstanding value that is Elmhurst College,” he said. Ricordati didn’t take personal credit for the college’s ranking, instead electing to highlight the good work done by all of EC’s faculty.

“We have outstanding academic programs delivered by knowledgeable, caring faculty who provide our students with a world-class education at a very reasonable tuition rate given the structure of our merit-based financial aid,” Ricordati said.

Though the criteria for ranking amongst the best value schools in the Midwest weighs the discount rate at these schools, Elmhurst still ranked in the top four despite its recent efforts to decrease the discount.

At the monthly faculty meeting on Sept. 9, Ricordati said that the college had been working toward a decrease in the rate for incoming freshmen. EC has a discount rate below that of the average school in the midwest.

EC was also recognized as the 10th best school in the midwest for veterans. EC is a Yellow Ribbon school and accepts all Federal VA educational benefits for veterans, servicemembers, spouses and dependents.

Leslie Daley, an EC veteran student, shared her personal experience with the veterans affairs department at the college.

"They've actually been very helpful- especially with financial matters," she said. "As soon as I got accepted I was getting emails telling me 'hey you need this and hey do you need help getting this?' They just kept in touch and made sure I was on top of everything."

Though she hasn't had much interaction with the veteran's program, Daley explained that the resources available to her as a veteran student were always made clear by the program.

They'll send out emails saying that they're meeting at this place at this time but as far as asking me personally if I need anything, it hasn't been much," Daley said. "But then again, I haven't really said 'hey I need help.' I just haven't needed to yet. They've taken care of me so I don't need to reach out for help.