Berry has lowest tuition and graduation rate in the conference

New stats show Berry College has the lowest tuition but also lowest graduation rate compared to eight similar schools.

Bryce Koon, Viking Fusion Reporter

New statistics by the U.S. News and World Report show Berry College has the lowest tuition but also lowest graduation rate compared to eight similar schools. The other schools included in the data are similar in size and are members of the Southern Athletic Association.  

While there were tuition increases the past few years, Berry remains the least expensive at $35,176 per year. Birmingham-Southern College is close behind with $35,792 annual tuition. The highest tuition is $48,348 at Furman University. Although Berry’s tuition is the lowest of the group, the national average for private college is $34,740, making Berry more expensive when compared nationally.

Berry was above the average tuition increase from year to year at 4.8%. The average among private institutions sits at 3.8%. Many students are concerned that the tuition price will continue to increase.

Compared to the other colleges, Berry awards the most students financial aid. Seventy percent of Berry students receive financial aid and 100 percent of the 2015 freshman class received some sort of financial aid.

However, Berry has the lowest graduation rate of the nine schools. This rate is calculated by the average proportion of a freshman class that earn a degree in six years or less, according to the U.S. News and World Report. The highest graduation rate is 86 percent at Centre College while Berry rests at 66 percent.

In 2015, 71 percent of graduates had student debt at an average total of $26,449. This is the highest percentage of graduates with student debt with the next being Millsaps College at 58 percent.

The nine schools have an average 77.3 percent white student body. Berry tied for second at 81 percent white student body.

The data also included average test scores of incoming freshmen. The nine schools are fairly close and are separated by small margins. Berry sat at the median with an average grade point average (GPA) of 3.7 and an average ACT score of 26. But, the median SAT score for critical reading and math is the third lowest of the nine school at 1140.

Among similar schools, Berry ranked near the top of most categories included in the data report. These reports continue to help staff and administrators determine the quality and status of their school in comparison to others.

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