Kiplinger's, WISTAX cite UW-Eau Claire for value, selectivityJanuary 5, 2012
EAU CLAIRE — Recent reports from two independent organizations — Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) — have highlighted the quality and value of a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Kiplinger's has again named UW-Eau Claire one of the nation's 100 best values among public colleges. The magazine has consistently included UW-Eau Claire in its rankings of top-value colleges and universities for about 15 years. The rankings appear in Kiplinger's February issue and can be found online.
This week the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance also released a report placing UW-Eau Claire among the top three most selective universities in the UW System and as the second lowest in terms of student loan debt at graduation. WISTAX, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to citizen education, compares the UW System’s 13 four-year public universities on selectivity, size and retention in its report titled "Comparing UW Campuses: A Guide for Applicants, Parents."
"The UW System offers great variety to students with universities that can provide them with the major of their interest while also helping them to gain confidence and the 'soft skills' that will be essential for lifetime employment and lifetime learning," said Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich. "We are pleased that we meet this need so successfully for so many students."
The Kiplinger's ranking and WISTAX report both indicate that UW-Eau Claire continues to remain affordable while attracting many of the state's best and brightest students.
"Our efforts over the past few years to improve retention and graduation rates while also keeping down student indebtedness have shown success, as documented in the WISTAX study," Levin-Stankevich said. "These efforts will continue — although with greater difficulty as a result of the jarring reduction in public funding for the UW System in this state budget biennium."
To create its current top 100 list, Kiplinger's reviewed data from more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities throughout the country. Academic excellence, low cost and financial aid are among the criteria the magazine has traditionally used when evaluating schools for its list. This year, in light of the new economic challenges faced by higher education institutions nationwide, additional criteria were used: the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, four-year graduation rate and student loan debt at graduation.
In the WISTAX report, UW-Eau Claire graduates had the second lowest average loan debt ($22,571) in a WISTAX comparison of the average loan debt among UW System graduates who borrowed money to help fund their educations. The average debt among all UW System student borrowers was $25,397.
In addition, UW-Eau Claire ranked among the UW System's top three most selective universities based on new freshman admission rates, high school class rank of incoming freshmen and average freshman admission test scores. For the fall 2010 semester, among UW-Eau Claire's new freshmen, 54 percent had graduated in the top quarter of their high school class. The average ACT score among new UW-Eau Claire freshmen was 24.4, and the admission rate (percentage of applicants admitted) was 75.9 percent.
UW-Eau Claire continually attracts a talented freshman class each year due to the university's commitment to opportunities like research with faculty, study abroad, and intern and immersion programs, said Heather Kretz, assistant director of admissions.
"Our research shows that access to and personal attention from faculty, challenging classes and dynamic support offered here make us a top choice among talented students," Kretz said. "We pair quality academics and dynamic out-of-the classroom opportunities to ensure our students leave us feeling prepared for their next step — whether it’s graduate school or that first job out of college."