Over the past few months, Baruch College has received several accolades from recognized ranking institutions for affordability and its ability to provide a low-cost, high-quality education. The list of organizations that have praised Baruch includes the Department of Education, Washington Monthly, Value Colleges and The U.S. News & World Report.
Although Baruch has been known for its business programs, more and more students are trying to break the mold by exploring new horizons in the fine arts majors. This leads to questions as to whether rankings are indicative of the plight of students who enroll in non-traditional majors versus that of the students who opt for traditional business majors.
On March 2 , the Department of Education listed Baruch in its list of institutions that excel at graduating low-income students. According to the report, out of the 45 percent of students that receive Pell Grants, 72 percent graduate with earnings of more than $25,000 within the first six years.
For these students, the annual cost associated with attending Baruch comes up to $5,559. As part of its methodology, the Department of Education collected data from both the College Scorecard and the Education Trust’s Pell Partnership Project.
“Attending Baruch is relatively affordable but if you are not a working student or if your parents don’t have any kind of bills, that is not the case,” said Risa Colander, a senior majoring in English.
In the Top 50 Best Value Colleges for 2017, Value Colleges ranked Baruch in third place for being “one of the best connected institutions in the City of New York, as well as one of the best values for social mobility.”
For the rankings, Value Colleges divide schools into two categories based on their cost compared to the national average cost using the College Scorecard. The institutions are then further ranked based on their respective return on investment score, cost—as per the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System—and reputation.
“My experience has been great, but you can see that the school isn’t making as much money off of in-state students as they could be, so they are pushing hybrid and online classes so that they can have more classes going on at the same time to get money from more students,” said a digital marketing major who wished to remain anonymous.
Washington Monthly ranked Baruch at No. 8 in providing the “Best Bang for the Buck” in the northeast region in its 2016 College Guide and Rankings.
Student debt plays a huge role in U.S. households and is often placed at the epicenter of many political campaigns. In their list of colleges where graduates have the least debt, the U.S. News & World Report placed Baruch in third place out of a survey pool of 1,800 colleges for “excelling at keeping students’ debt low for bachelor’s degrees.”
“The fact that I am going to be able to graduate with such a small amount of student debt is already a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Mike Shultz, a junior majoring in corporate communications.
Compared to the national average of $28,110, Baruch students’ average debt amounts to $7,737 among the 29 percent of students who took out loans. Baruch was placed behind Berea College and Princeton University. The data used for the rankings includes schools’ self-reported data regarding their academic programs, among other information.
As CUNY students continue their fight to keep tuition frozen, the CUNY board of trustees will have the final say as to whether CUNY colleges will continue to be affordable.