The University of Mary Washington has been recognized again as one of the best schools in the nation for affordable student loan debt and superior academics, according to two recent studies.
In surveys by LendEDU, UMW ranked 16th of 100 small public colleges for the least average debt per borrower. A marketplace resource for student loans, LendEDU also recognized UMW as No. 102 Best Risk-Reward College in the country, No. 5 in Virginia.
“According to our statistics, 60 percent of college graduates will walk away from campus with diplomas in one hand and student loan debt in the other,” said Mike Brown, research analyst with LendEDU. “The average borrower from the Class of 2016 owed $27,975 at graduation, which can look like an insurmountable mountain for these young adults on entry level salaries or no salary at all.”
In comparison, Mary Washington graduates averaged $19,444 loan debt per borrower, while in Virginia, the average undergraduate debt topped nearly $29,000, according to statistics.
For its risk-reward ranking, LendEDU defines risk as average student loan debt per borrower and reward as the average median salary for alumni with five years or less experience. The organization calculates the average student loan debt per borrower from financial aid data submitted to Peterson’s Guide to Colleges. LendEDU analyzed nearly 1,000 public and private colleges in the U.S.
Recognizing superior academics, the guide service College Factual recently ranked UMW’s geography and cartography program first in the Commonwealth of Virginia and 12th out of 172 colleges nationwide. In the fall, College Factual/USA Today also recognized UMW’s geography program as No. 1 in the Southeastern region.
The University’s English program also received impressive reviews. College Factual rated it 83rd out of 625 nationwide, and UMW maintained its place as one of Virginia’s top five English programs for the second year. An earlier ranking by the college resource guide Schools.com recognized UMW’s English program as No. 3 in the country.
College Factual also ranked UMW’s liberal arts general studies program 47th out of 352 nationwide, marking the university as one of the top programs in the nation as well as the state for general studies.
The college guide service provides rankings based on outcomes, using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics. Salary data comes from the Department of Education and the data company Pay Scale.