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Pomona College Ranked the Best Value Among Liberal Arts Colleges

Pomona College has been named the “Best Value” among liberal arts colleges by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine in its February 2009 edition. According to the magazine, the rankings “combine outstanding economic value with exceptional education.” Among the affordability measures considered were “cost after need-based aid” and “average debt at graduation.” The same issue also includes Kiplinger’s list of the best values among private universities.

“Families hit by the economic downturn may feel that private institutions are out of their financial reach,” says Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s, “but they will be surprised by our findings. Most of the top-notch schools on the Kiplinger 100 offer generous financial aid packages.”

In the accompanying article, Pomona College received praise for its “near-perfect” 99% freshman retention and long-time commitment to meeting the full financial need of qualified families. Beginning in fall 2008, Pomona replaced loans with grants in its financial aid packages. The average cost for tuition, room and board, after need-based aid, is $16,980, from a total price of $46,580.

“Pomona's determination to fund financial aid during good and bad times has paid off for Jazmin Lopez, a senior from Napa, Cal.,” writes Kiplinger reporter Jane Bennett Clark. “Lopez's family expected her to attend a university in the California state system. ‘My parents didn't go to college and couldn't grasp that going here might be cheaper than going to a public school,’ she says. ‘But once we got financial-aid packages from all the schools, Pomona was the one that gave me all the aid. The UC schools give a lot of loans, but I have minimal loans here.’"

Pomona’s membership in The Claremont Colleges consortium and the unique advantages it provides for students - such as expanded course offerings and a library with two million volumes - were also noted. Pomona is the founding member of the Consortium, which also includes Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Scripps College, Claremont Graduate University and the Keck Graduate Institute.

Rounding out the top 10 were Swarthmore College, Williams College, Davidson College, Washington & Lee University, Amherst College, Carleton College, Wellesley College, Haverford College and Vassar College. Pomona’s sister colleges in The Claremont Colleges consortium that were also ranked among the top 50 best values among liberal arts colleges include Claremont McKenna College at #12 and Scripps College at #35. Neighboring Occidental made the list at #32, while the Cal. Institute of Technology (Caltech) topped the list of private universities.

Editor's note: On January 8, it was announced that The Princeton Review, in a study conducted with USA Today, selected Pomona College as the 9th among Best Value colleges and universities, and 4th among liberal arts colleges. Please read that press release here.

Pomona College, founded in 1887, is located in Claremont, CA, approximately 35 miles east of the City of Los Angeles. On a campus where ivy, oaks and palm trees coexist under habitually sunny skies, Pomona students work hard without losing their sense of fun. Evenly divided between women and men, with students of color making up more than a third of the approximately 1520 students, Pomona students are admitted on the basis of promise. The College’s need-based financial aid program, which meets the full financial aid need of families, ensures that cost is not a barrier.