W&M ranks high in NYT report on affordability

William & Mary is among the nation’s leading colleges and universities when it comes to a commitment to access and affordability for low and middle-income students, according to a recent report from the New York Times.

The Times annual College Access Index (CAI) looked at three factors; the percentage of students who qualify for Pell grants, graduation rates, and the net price for low- and middle-income students. Only 170 schools met the standards to make it to the CAI. W&M ranked 15th among the nation’s public colleges and universities and 56thoverall. The CAI ranked William & Mary the No.1 public university in Virginia.

“It is gratifying to be recognized for the commitment William & Mary has made to making the university more affordable for Virginia’s low- and middle-income families,” said Provost Michael R. Halleran. “We’ve seen real progress thanks to the investment in need-based aid for in-state students made possible through the William & Mary Promise.

“We’re also pleased to see a ranking that looks seriously at a school’s net price – how much students and their families actually pay to attend – and graduation rates as key factors.”

This year’s CAI, published on May 25, looked only at colleges with a five-year graduation rate of at least 75 percent. A score was assigned to each school based on the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants multiplied by the graduation rate, and the average net price for students with annual family incomes of $35,000-$75,000. Net price is the actual out-of-pocket cost of college for students and their families after financial aid and scholarships are factored in.

According to the report’s website, “Together, the index measures how many lower-income students graduate from a college and how much they must pay to attend it.”

Overall, public universities from the Commonwealth performed well on the CAI. With a total of four making the list, Virginia was second only to California, which had six.

William & Mary, which was ranked 77th on the CAI in 2015, has made strides in recent years to increase economic diversity among its student body.

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