Williams College is sixth best in value: Princeton Review

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WILLIAMSTOWN -- Williams College has been named the sixth best value in private colleges in the U.S. by Princeton Review magazine.

Princeton Review used 30 factors in academics, cost and financial aid in ranking colleges. Cost factors included tuition, room and board, and required fees. Financial aid factors looked at the average amount of aid students received.

Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania ranked first, and Williams' rival, Amherst College, placed ninth on the list.

Including the cost of books, travel to and from home, and personal expenses, the estimated face-value cost of a Williams College education is just under $50,000 a year, or $200,000 for four years.

However, about 50 percent of the Class of 2012 received more than $9 million of Williams' need-based aid in their first year, with financial aid packages averaging $37,000, and families picking up an average of $17,000 of the cost. And starting in 2008, the school no longer required students to take out loans; rather, it provided grants to them.

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For the Class of 2013, those figures went up. About 53 percent receive Williams-based financial aid. The average aid package is $38,400 with the average family contribution for those receiving financial aid at $12,800.

"It's nice to be regarded as one of the best in the country, but no methodology can support such numerical ranking," said James Kolesar, a spokesman for Williams College. "It is nice though that it draws attention to financial aid at Williams and places like it."

Williams College has been ranked the top liberal arts college in the U.S., or tied for the top ranking, for the past seven years by U.S. News & World Report.

Forbes Magazine ranked Williams College as the fifth best college or university in the U.S. in rankings released last August.

The school targets an annual class size of 538.


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