By Patrick Brady
Framingham State was ranked 26th on a list of “Best Value Colleges and Universities” in the country by College Consensus March 17.
According to an April 1 University press release, College Consensus’ rankings are determined by data collected from Forbes, Money, U.S. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, Wallethub, and Washington Monthly.
In addition, the site averages student reviews from sites such as Cappex, Niche, and Student Reviews to understand how students view their colleges, according to the press release. Furthermore, the site factors in the cost of tuition and fees.
In the press release, Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos stated, “We are fortunate to have an outstanding group of faculty, a small, beautiful New England campus, and excellent academic and residential facilities. When you get all that at a cost much lower than most private schools, you can see why Framingham State is considered to be an excellent value.”
In an interview, Cevallos said the quality that is offered for the price of tuition is an “amazing value.”
“It’s something that will certainly help people think about their options and think about going to FSU,” he added.
Cevallos said any achievement that shines a “positive light” on the University is good for enrollment.
He said he’s proud the University was recognized by a national organization for its value.
He added he is very pleased to be associated with a university that can deliver high-quality education for a reasonable price.
Additionally, the Southern California Center on Diversity and Inclusion recognized FSU as an “institution that actually transforms lives,” Cevallos said. “Our students go on to do really great things after they finish.”
He said the Board of Trustees is working “very hard” on increasing FSU’s affordability. For the past couple of years, they’ve been holding down the fees.
“The cost of education has gone up for everyone, and even [though] we are affordable, it is still an expense,” he said. “We also have put a significant number of our own resources into financial aid.”
The University can help students with grants and their financial packaging, he said.
Cevallos added, “It’s a great recognition for the University and it makes us very proud to be associated with an institution that can deliver the high quality that we do for a very reasonable price.”
Dale Hamel, executive vice president, said it’s beneficial any time FSU can get the word out about the value of the education it offers.
Hamel said the degree, demographics, costs, and value mattered more than the school’s ranking. Students attend FSU because of its affordability and value, he said.
The University is freezing tuition and fees for AY 2022-23 and will increase financial aid for the “most needy” students, he said. However, continuing to freeze tuition and fees is not a long-term option because personnel costs and inflation are increasing.
Hamel said FSU needs more state funding in order to limit increases in tuition and fees. “Any advocacy for continued state funding for public higher education in general, which includes Framingham State in particular, would certainly benefit that.
“There’s a large financing exercise that the Board of Higher Education is currently undertaking that is looking at how other states fund their public higher education systems,” he added. “Part of that is seeing where we stack up in terms of state support per student.”
Overall, the purpose of the exercise is to look at how other states finance their public systems, Hamel said.
Eli Paré, a senior English major, said affordability is one of the key reasons why people attend FSU. “State schools are kind of affordable.”
They said the achievement boosts the school’s reputation.
Ben Hurney, a freshman studio art major, said Framingham State is a good value. “It’s definitely affordable compared to other schools, which is nice.”
He added it is refreshing to be around other people who want to graduate and get a degree.
Danny Nguyen, a junior computer science major, said Framingham State’s small community allows him to interact with people he’s familiar with. Although FSU offers a good deal, he thought the cost was a “little pricey.
“As long as you work it out with financial aid, you should be OK,” he added.
Katherine Soto, a junior psychology major, said faculty play more of a role in the overall experience of FSU than affordability. “In the end, you’re there to learn.”
Rodrienne Georges, a sophomore psychology major, said she is thankful FSU offers a lot of grants and financial aid to students, although she thought the University could benefit from better promotion.
Ray Webber, a freshman political science major, said compared to other colleges she’s seen and heard about, Framingham State’s tuition is a good deal.
“Affordability helps factor into its attendance rates,” she said. “I’ve heard people say that was the reason they came to this campus.”
Shayna Eddy, director of undergraduate admissions, said while it was a nice honor to receive the recognition, a single ranking will probably not have an impact on admission rates.
“There are many different companies that put out various rankings and a whole host of other factors that go into the college decision-making process,” she said.
Eddy said FSU was also ranked in the top-30 “Best Value Colleges and Universities” by College Consensus in 2020 and 2021.
Framingham State has been recognized as a “Green College” for many years in a row because of its commitment to environmental sustainability, she said. “That has an affordability component to it because many of our sustainability efforts save the University money.”
She said the combination of affordability and the “outstanding quality” of its academic programs are the reasons FSU is such a value. Students who attend want to know that they are getting a great education, she added.
“This past academic year, the value of what the state provided to FSU was equivalent to $18,000 per student,” Eddy said. “That is a huge discount for students and families on the service and academic programs that we provide.”