All College

July 25, 2019
10,000 Ojai Road
Santa Paula CA 93060
Media Contact: Anne Forsyth, Director of College Relations
(805) 525-4417
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SANTA PAULA, CA—July 25—Thomas Aquinas College is ranked first in the nation on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of the 400 Best College Values. This is the first year the college has ranked at the top of Kiplinger’s “best value” list for liberal arts colleges as well as at the top of its combined list for all private and public “best value” colleges and universities in the country. Thomas Aquinas College is also the only Catholic college to be ranked in Kiplinger’s top 20 “Best College Values.” 

In this latest installment of its annual guide, Kiplinger’s reports that the college “racks up points on the financial side of the equation with a sticker price that’s about half that of many schools on our best-values list. Like many institutions in the upper tier of our rankings, Thomas Aquinas meets 100% of students’ demonstrated financial need, awarding need-based aid to 70% of students. And although nearly 90% of students report taking loans, the average debt among those who borrow is less than $20,000 — less than the national average at both private [$32,300] and public schools [$25,550].” 

“Our rankings — which weigh affordability alongside academic quality — are designed to help families see how their full array of college options stack up,” said Kaitlin Pitsker, associate editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. “We start with a universe of nearly 1,200 schools, then trim the list based on measures of academic quality, cost and financial aid data.” 

Commenting on its methodology for the rankings, Kiplinger’s points out that, in the final analysis, “academic quality carries more weight than cost.”

Says Jon Daly, director of admissions, “Thanks to our many generous benefactors, a Thomas Aquinas College education is affordable to any student who is intent on reading and discussing the Great Books in mathematics, natural science, literature, philosophy, and theology.” He adds, “For a Catholic liberal education that is as excellent as it is unique, the College offers a value that cannot be matched.”

To preserve its independence and its Catholic identity, Thomas Aquinas College does not accept any direct government funding. Instead, individual benefactors and foundations contribute what is needed each year to ensure that no qualified student is ever turned away for lack of financial means. The school maintains a need-blind admissions process, and it caps student loans at approximately $18,000 over four years. The school’s alumni have a less than one percent loan default rate (the average loan default rate for private colleges is 7.1 percent), and they are #2 in the country for the rate at which they give back to their alma mater, according to U.S. News & World Report. 

Kiplinger’s full rankings are now available online at 
and will appear in print in the September 2019 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands August 13. 

About Thomas Aquinas College

A four-year, co-educational institution, Thomas Aquinas College has developed over the past 48 years a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad and is highly ranked by organizations such as The Princeton Review, U. S. News, and Kiplinger. At Thomas Aquinas College all students acquire a broad and fully integrated liberal education. The College offers one, four-year, classical curriculum that spans the major arts and sciences. Instead of reading textbooks, students read the original works of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization — the Great Books — in all the major disciplines: mathematics, natural science, literature, philosophy, and theology. The academic life of the college is conducted under the light of the Catholic faith and flourishes within a close-knit community, supported by a vibrant spiritual life. Graduates consistently excel in the many world-class institutions at which they pursue graduate degrees in fields such as law, medicine, business, theology and education. They have distinguished themselves serving as lawyers, doctors, business owners, priests, military service men and women, educators, journalists and college presidents. The College will open a second campus in Northfield, Massachusetts in August 2019. For additional information, visit