For the fourth consecutive year, West Virginia Northern Community College has been cited by the federal government as one of the most affordable colleges in America. WVNCC’s net price is the second lowest among the four two-year institutions from the state that earned spots on the 2015 list.
WVNCC once again made the national College Affordability and Transparency Center list compiled by theIntegrated Postsecondary Education Data System used by the U.S. Department of Education. Northern’s ranking was on the list of public, two-year institutions of higher learning with the lowest net prices. A total of 95 institutions from throughout the U.S. were listed. The 2015 list was announced July 1.
The other West Virginia two-year colleges on the lowest list were Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Moorefield; Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Williamson; and Bridgemont Community and Technical College in Montgomery.
“The value of a West Virginia Northern education is in our quality programs offered with great flexibility for the student but affordability has been and always will be a top priority,” Dr. Vicki L. Riley, Northern’s president, said. “Our Board of Governors and administration for many years have worked together diligently to keep costs as low as possible and this recognition bears that out,” Riley added.
Institutions with the highest tuition and highest net price and those with the lowest tuition and lowest net price are detailed on the 2015 list. WVNCC ranked as number 50, with a net price of $3,546 on the list of 95 institutions with the lowest net prices. Last year, WVNCC was listed at number 66 with a net price of $3,727. The new list ranked Eastern at number 42 with a net price of $3,321; Southern at 68 with a net price of $3,905 and Bridgemont, at the very bottom of the list at 95, with a net price of $4,287. These numbers compare to the 2015 national average of a $7,316 net price.
Janet Fike, vice president of student services at Northern, said the lists are generated with the following criteria: tuition includes the tuition and required fees as reported to IPEDS by the institution and net prices includes the cost of attendance minus grant and scholarship aid as reported to and calculated by IPEDS. Fike said the lists that show the highest are the top 5 percent while the lists for the lowest are the bottom 10 percent.
“Northern colleagues are very pleased that our institution has been so consistent that it has been cited for four years in a row,” Fike said, explaining the most affordable listings shows “the college clearly is maintaining and strengthening the processes that help our students with financial aid, grants and scholarships.”
Fike explained the average net price is the average price of attendance that is paid by fulltime, undergraduate, degree-seeking students after grants and scholarships are taken into account. The average net price is generated by subtracting the average amount of federal, state and local government or institutional grant or scholarship aid from the cost of attendance. Total cost of attendance is the sum of published in-state tuition and required fees, books and supplies and, if applicable, the weighted average for room and board and other expenses.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 called for the College Affordability and Transparency Lists to be created by July 1 of 2012. Under the requirements, six lists were created. Three lists focus on tuition and fees, and three others look at the institution’s “average net price.” Each list was broken out into nine different sectors to allow students to compare costs at similar types of institutions.