To help ease the financial burden on students and their parents in a weak economy, the Thomas Aquinas College Board of Governors voted at its recent annual corporate retreat to freeze the cost of tuition and room & board for the 2016-2017 academic year. This is the fourth year in a row that the College’s governors have kept the cost of the school’s classical liberal education level.

Tuition will remain at $24,500, and room & board at $7,950, bringing the total cost of attendance — including books and all fees — to $32,450. That amount is well below the average of $37,948 for private institutions in the Western United States, according to The College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges (2013-2014).

“These are uncertain economic times, and college costs can be prohibitively high for our families,” says Thomas Aquinas College President Michael F. McLean. “We are doing what we can to make this education possible for the qualified students who seek it, and I am grateful to our many benefactors for their generosity to our financial aid fund.”

In order to keep its unique program of Catholic liberal education within the reach of all motivated students and their families, the College additionally maintains a vigorous financial aid program. No student is ever turned away on the basis of financial need, and the College asks its students to take on no more than $18,000 in debt over the course of their four years’ study. Members of the Class of 2013 graduated with an average loan debt of just $15,521 — about half the national average of $29,400. Notably, the loan-default rate for the College’s alumni is less than 1.0 percent, compared to 8.8 percent nationwide.

The Princeton Review recently named Thomas Aquinas College as one of only 20 colleges in the country on its list of “Great Financial Aid” schools, and gave it a 97 (out of a possible 99) rating for academics. In addition, U.S. News & World Report ranks the College in the top 30 among national liberal arts colleges on its  2016 Best Values list. Similarly, Kiplinger’s lists the College at No. 22 on its list of Top 300 Best College Values of 2016 and at No. 12 among all liberal arts colleges in the United States. USA Today has proclaimed Thomas Aquinas College one of the country’s Best 10 Colleges for the Money.