When U.S. News & World Report released its rankings of colleges and universities last month, Adrian College was listed as a “best value” for the eighth straight year.

AC ranked 16th for best value among regional colleges in the Midwest, according to the magazine. It ranked 17th overall among regional colleges in the Midwest.

“Being named one of the best value colleges in the country never gets old,” Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking said in a news release. “Our financial aid department does an outstanding job helping students get into our classrooms. They stay there, in part, because of the commitment our campus community gives to seeing their success. ”

Before announcing that a college or university offers the best value, U.S. News & World Report calculates a school’s academic quality, as indicated in its 2021 Best Colleges ranking, and the 2019-20 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal, U.S. News & World Report notes, adding only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included because it considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically.

A student’s eligibility depends on their expected family contribution, year in school, enrollment status, and the cost of attending the school they want to attend. The college’s financial aid office determines how much federal aid a student is eligible to receive.

“Adrian College meets 100 percent of established needs as a packaging practice,” Frank Hribar, vice president of enrollment and student affairs, said in the release. “That means we package scholarships, need-based grants and then student loans to reduce the direct costs to meet the students’ Expected Family Contribution. For the lowest income students, the cost is reduced to meet their family’s needs.”

Adrian College has distributed over $40 million in institutional discounts to assist families and make the college affordable during this fiscal year, the release said. These discounts help defray a significant amount of the cost families actually pay.

Hribar said through aggressive fundraising efforts, resource development and partner organizations including the Michigan Colleges Foundation, Adrian College can discount tuition at a rate to make it affordable to even the most-needy students. In addition, the state of Michigan provides assistance specifically and directly to students attending private institutions through Michigan Tuition Grants.

“The result is, on the average, students actually pay about one-half of the ‘sticker price’ at our institution,” Hribar said.

Hribar said parents should consider the total impact of tuition costs over the course of a student’s entire educational experience. As a whole, students at private colleges and other independent colleges and universities graduate in four years at twice the rate of their peers at other institutions. For every year students extend their stay, the cost factor is significantly increased. Add to that the fact that in many cases students who stay longer than four years exhaust many of their financial aid options — with the exception of loans. For every additional year spent in college, students bypass earning a salary. Students lose out on income because they are not able to enter the workforce as quickly.

“When factoring in lost income each year and compound that by factoring the value of delayed salary raises over the remainder of a career that are lost due entering the workforce a year later, the impact is startling,” Hribar said.

Other schools on U.S. News & World Report’s best value and overall rankings of Midwestern regional colleges include Ohio Northern University, Goshen College, Alma College, Heidelberg University, Taylor University, University of Mount Union and Bluffton University.