Affordability Meets Opportunity

February 2, 2010

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When chancellor-elect Randy Woodson officially joins the NC State family this spring, he’ll take the helm of a university consistently lauded for its efforts to provide a high-quality, affordable education to its students.

Last month, Kiplinger named NC State the #10 best value among all public universities – the latest recognition the university has received from a number of media and education-based organizations over the last year, including U.S. News & World Report (3rd) and USA Today/Princeton Review (6th).

“It is gratifying to see that NC State continues to receive these national recognitions,” said NC State vice provost and university registrar Louis Hunt. “The rankings not only attest to the quality of our faculty and academic programs, but also to the university’s long-standing commitment to providing real educational value.

“That commitment ensures, that despite current economic turmoil, a world-class education is accessible and affordable to qualified students.”

The university’s promise to allocate its financial aid resources broadly allows the broadest range of students to attend NC State and chase their dreams of higher education.

“I was looking for a school with a nationally ranked art program, a solid science program, study abroad opportunities and a major-conference football program, located in a city large enough that life could exist off-campus,” said NC State junior Amaris Hames, a 28-year-old photography buff double-majoring in anthropology and design studies. “Only two schools in the nation have all of these things, and NC State cost 33% less than the other school.

“It was an easy decision and, within a week of arriving here, I realized I made the right choice.”

A combination of need-based grants, a Pell grant, university grants and both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans (along with a part-time job) made it possible for Hames to attend NC State, where she said a team of financial aid experts were available to help her every step of the way.

“You definitely have to know your stuff and make sure you do things right, and in a timely manner, but the assistance I’ve received from Diane Sims and Jen Foster in the financial aid office has been exceptional,” Hames said. “As an ‘adult student,’ it’s encouraging to know that there is someone else on my team.”

Sophomore Hayden Hoggard (Greensboro, N.C.), who does not receive financial aid from the university, said affordability played a key role in his decision to attend NC State – one that was validated as soon as he arrived on campus.

“I definitely feel like I am getting my money’s worth,” said Hoggard, a biological engineering major. “The education has been practical and challenging, and I’ve found that the more I put into my education, the more I get back.

“The harder you work as a student, the farther your money goes.”

Kiplinger’s rankings are based on a combination of affordability and academic data, including SAT and ACT scores, student-faculty ratios, as well as admission, retention and graduation rates. Academic quality carries more weight than costs in compiled ratings, almost two-thirds of the total.

“Our goal is to provide our students with a quality education while keeping tuition affordable,” said Dr. Warwick Arden, interim provost and executive vice chancellor at NC State. “Combining first-class quality with affordability is the definition of value in higher education.

“By any measure, NC State passes that test with flying colors.”