Presbyterian College is the highest-ranked private institution in South Carolina, according to Money magazine's "Best Colleges in America, Ranked by Value."
The rankings factor in tuition, family borrowing, and career earnings "to find the schools that successfully combine quality and affordability."
"There's a misperception that private schools are only for wealthy students," said Suzanne Petrusch, PC's vice president for enrollment and marketing.
"At PC, we take access and affordability seriously. We've committed to a generous scholarship and financial aid program, which provides opportunities for students who initially might not have considered PC to be within the realm of possibility."
Ranking Money's 2020 list of "best colleges"
Money's 2020 list of best colleges included 739 colleges and universities in the country. To be considered for the list, schools must have at least 500 students, not be in financial distress, meet certain criteria for graduation rates, and have sufficient, reliable data to be analyzed.
Money ranked the schools on 27 factors in three categories:
Quality of education
According to Money, the six-year graduation rate is "widely recognized as one of the most important indicators of a college’s quality." The average time it takes a PC student to graduate is 4.1 years.
Student quality, instructor quality, and Pell Grant recipient outcomes also factor into Money's evaluation of a school's quality of education. The Pell Grant measurement factors how many Pell Grant recipients a school graduates as a way to analyze how well schools support low-income students.
The US News & World Report ranked PC among the nation’s best at enrolling and graduating economically disadvantaged students.
"One of the many advantages that PC provides is that we offer one-on-one support to students who could benefit from improving their time management, organizational, and study skills," said Dr. Amy Davis, director of academic success and retention.
"We love that our students trust us to help them make the necessary adjustments to college academics."
The Value of a PC Education
To create its list of best colleges, Money also calculated a school's affordability by looking at several factors such as the net price of the degree. Money defines the net price as "the estimated amount a typical freshman starting in 2019 will pay to earn a degree, taking into account the college’s sticker price; how much the school awards in grants and scholarships; and the average time it takes students to graduate from the school."
One-hundred percent of PC students with need receive grants to help pay for their education. The average merit grant for PC students is $20,000, and 86% of students' need is met.
"The immersive educational experience at PC adds depth to our graduates' critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and puts them in demand by top graduate schools and employers," Petrusch said.
"The early return on investment shows in the placement rate. Over the last five years, 95% of PC graduates were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation."
Money calculates outcomes by evaluating a school's graduates' earnings and the socio-economic index. The latter data shows the percentage of students at each school who move from low-income backgrounds to upper-middle-class jobs by the time students reach their mid-30s, according to Money.