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WVNCC Gets National Affordability Ranking

Posted 08/08/17

The federal government once again has rated West Virginia Northern Community College as one of the most affordable colleges in America. WVNCC’s net price is the lower of the pair of two-year institutions from the state that earned spots on the 2017 list.

As has occurred several times previously, WVNCC 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 92 institutions from throughout the U.S. were listed. The 2017 list was announced June 30.

The other West Virginia two-year college on the lowest list is Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Moorefield.

Northern’s president, Dr. Vicki L. Riley, said, “Being able to earn a quality education at a very affordable cost has been a major goal at WVNCC from the beginning. Although this has become increasingly challenging, our Board of Governors and administration continue to find ways to keep costs as low as possible. That the federal government continues to measure Northern as one of the most affordable in the country is testament to that diligence.”

Institutions with the highest tuition and highest net price and those with the lowest tuition and lowest net price are detailed on the 2017 list. WVNCC ranked as number 71, with a net price of $3,887, on the list of 92 institutions with the lowest net prices. The new list ranked Eastern at number 82 with a net price of $4,001. These numbers compare to the 2017 national average of a $7,314 net price.

Janet Fike, vice president of student services at Northern, said, “That Northern has been cited as most affordable for five years shows that our institution has been highly consistent in maintaining and strengthening the processes that help our students with financial aid, grants and scholarships. The staff should be saluted for its hard work in this area.”

The lists are created, Fike said, with the following criteria: Average net price is generated by subtracting the average amount of federal, state/local government or institutional grant or scholarship aid from the total cost of attendance. Total cost of attendance is the sum of published tuition and required fees (lower of in-district or in-state, where applicable), books and supplies, and the weighted average for room and board and other expenses. Average net price is for full-time beginning undergraduate students who received grant or scholarship aid from federal, state or local governments, or the institution. 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.

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.