Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Hillsdale College as the top best value liberal arts college in the Midwest.
The 300 Best College Values for 2018 list released in December named Hillsdale the 14th best value liberal arts college in the United States. Hillsdale was 26th of all U.S. colleges and universities, as well, up from 36 last year.
Kiplinger’s is a financial advice publication based in Washington, D.C. It looked at colleges’ sticker price as well as the average amount of aid they award students.
Hillsdale College awards some form of scholarship or grant to 95 percent of the student body, according to Richard Moeggenberg, director of student records and financial aid. He estimates that roughly half of students receive gift aid that covers half of their costs.
“With an average gift aid amount near $18,000 for this year, we can at least make an estimation that just less than half our students have been awarded scholarship monies, which cover at least 50 percent of their billed costs,” Moeggenberg said.
In the list of best value overall, Hillsdale College beat out institutions such as Brown University, Cornell University, and University of Florida. It still falls behind Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and Yale University. The top three slots were taken by Princeton University, Davidson College, and Swarthmore College, respectively.
In the list of best value among liberal colleges, Hillsdale College outranked colleges such as Grinnell College, Kenyon College, and Wheaton College. The top three slots were taken by Davidson College, Swarthmore College, and Pomona College, respectively.
“It’s not about the money or the building,” Moeggenberg said. “We have an outstanding education. We have world-class faculty here.”
Students agree with Kiplinger’s assessment.
Senior class president Razi Lane has three scholarships, one of which has a work requirement. Although Lane’s award is tied to a paying job, some scholarships have a volunteer requirement. Scholarships like these enrich the culture at Hillsdale, Lane said.
“It exerts us to give back to the community in a meaningful way,” Lane said. “Hillsdale experiences with these scholarships build character in a way other schools can’t.”
Senior David Stone said Hillsdale’s refusal to accept federal funding allows the college to create an independent educational experience.
“If you have people giving money, you’re going to have people telling you what to do,” Stone said. “If we were getting federal funding, there would be a lot more focus on the liberal agenda [in classrooms].”
Both students said they feel as if they are getting their money’s worth.
Moeggenberg said the operating on donations affects how the school operates.
“We have an incentive to keep our cost down,” he said. “It’s our responsibility to our donors.”
Lane also noted the effect donors and other alumni have on current students.
“Hillsdale’s culture ties community so tight,” he said. “Alumni reach back into the undergraduate pool and employ them.”
Moeggenberg said he expects Hillsdale will be on lists like Kiplinger’s for a long time.
“I think our academic reputation will put us on this list forever,” he said. “In comparison to other schools, we’ve done well.”