Should Swarthmore really be number 1 in Best Value?

<p>Swarthmore has been known for giving good financial aid, offering an Ivy league caliber education in a small intimate setting, and having top-notch professors.
These things have helped Swarthmore rank very highly in terms of "Value"</p>

<p>But does this make it a good investment? Compared to alternatives, like MIT or a cheaper/merit-aided state school, does Swarthmore still hold its title?
Are you still getting the most bang per buck?</p>

<p>According to the recently released Annual Financial Report for last year.</p>

<p>Swarthmore spent an average of $80,565 per undergrad and only charged an average net price of $33,418 per student. </p>

<p>That's a pretty good value, just in dollars and cents terms, to pay $33k for a product that costs $80k to produce. It's the combination of very high resources spent on undergrad education with very high financial aid discounting that makes for the attractive value (and the attractive value is why there are so many applicants). </p>

<p>The driver of all this is per student endowment. Swarthmore is number two among LACs in per student endowment, behind Pomona and ahead of Grinnell. Here are top five in per student endowment based on June 30, 2011 endowments and 2010/2011 enrollments:</p>

<p>


$1,107,788    Pomona
  $998,982  Swarthmore
  $924,350  Grinnell
  $914,491  Amherst
  $856,603  Williams

</p>

<p>One person's best value is not every person's best value. Had we paid $33,418 per year for our student, we might have been more inclined to think of Swarthmore as a good value. Because "value" is highly subjective, I would encourage all prospective students and families to think deeply about what you think is most important about the college experience. If Swarthmore is able to meet your student's and family's highest priorities, it may indeed be "a best value" experience - especially if you're able to pay the average price (or less) quoted above. Think about what you want - and do your research.</p>

<p>As involved mom rightly points out, there is no one single 'best value' college. It depends on what you're looking for and the environment in which you will thrive. That'll be a very individual thing. Know yourself and do your research. Couldn't agree more.</p>

<p>
[quote]
But does this make it a good investment? Compared to alternatives, like MIT or a cheaper/merit-aided state school, does Swarthmore still hold its title?
Are you still getting the most bang per buck?

[/quote]

Swarthmore is almost certainly not a "good investment" in terms of dollars in, dollars out. If you want to maximize the odds of a financially secure retirement, going to Swarthmore is not the answer. If you are thinking about it as an investment in other ways, it could be good. It depends on your own criteria.</p>