Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Melody Nyoni, Staff Writer
U.S. News and World Report recently listed Cedar Crest sixth on its best values list and placed it as one of the top regional schools in the northern United States. This comes right on the heels of the college being listed 11th on Newsweek’s “The Daily Beast” for the least affordable colleges.
In compiling its list, Newsweek considered multiple factors—debt, total cost, financial aid and future earnings—meaning that in the long term, the tuition does not measure up to future earnings. On the other hand, U.S. News based its criteria on a ratio of quality to price, the availability of need-based aid, and the percentage of cost covered by financial aid. In other words, Cedar Crest provides an education that measures up to its price.
Explaining these puzzling contradictory reviews, LaMont Rouse, the executive director of assessment from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, said, “The Best Value’s list in U.S. News is the one that’s more respected.”
In reference to Newsweek’s ranking, Roose said, “The problem of that methodology is if you look at only tuition costs it looks like it’s too much, but they don’t count the amount of money we give back to students in scholarships.”
Cedar Crest President Carmen Ambar expressed the same view in an interview published in last week’s edition of The Crestiad, “The U.S. News and World Report is a more reputable ranking,” she said. Ambar also noted The Daily Beast’s inconsiderable rankings of colleges, “The Daily Beast has done rankings of the ‘Druggiest Colleges,’ the ‘Top Party Schools,’ and the one I’m most offended by is the ‘Most Beautiful Colleges,’ where they take into account the attractiveness of the students on their campus as a context of who is the most beautiful college.”
In reference to the future earnings of graduates being low, Ambar mentioned that the pay inequalities, secondary to gender disparities are what engender Cedar Crest graduates to be low receivers on the pay scale. With Cedar Crest being a women’s college, these earnings are grossly represented to be very low without this consideration factored in.
Provost Elizabeth Meade, explained the complexities of the methodologies used to rank schools, especially in relation to affordability.
“It is important to look at the rankings from Newsweek and US News and World Report in the context of each other. As President Ambar explained when you spoke to her, the ranking of “Least Affordable” reflects the fact that we bring students of high financial need and then they go into good professions, but not the professions that are at the high end of compensation,” she said. “Thus in their eyes, MIT is a highly “affordable” college because they bring in students who are already fairly affable and send them into among the highest paying jobs on the planet (engineering). So even though their tuition is higher than Cedar Crest’s, they are more “affordable”.
Some students also seemed to be initially confused by the two rankings but managed to find common ground with why the college’s affordability can be viewed on both extremes.
“I love the psych program, so I’m a psychology major. I love the professors, and I feel like I’m receiving a high quality education, ’cause I can receive one-on-one attention—very small class sizes. I know that when I graduate, I’m assured a career because of how Cedar Crest is known,” said Brittany Dalbow, a sophomore psychology major.
Helen Ryan, a senior global studies major, said in comparison with other schools, Cedar Crest was a much cheaper choice.
“Cedar Crest was definitely the most affordable in the area as far as tuition. I received a lot of academic scholarships which helped balance the cost of tuition as I didn’t qualify for need-based aid,” Ryan said.
Faculty members mentioned how the uniqueness of the interactions between teachers and students make the college experience easier and prepares them for the challenges of the working world. The one on one attention students receive and the ability for teachers to individually help the growth of students from freshman year to senior year, and the relationships in the school across disciplines make the four years spent at Cedar Crest valuable.
“Because of the small class sizes, we are able to know each student individually and build their strengths. Not only can we concentrate on their academics but also their portfolios, so when they leave, they will have a competitive advantage,” said Arlene Peltola, an adjunct professor of business.
Diane Moyer, a Cedar Crest psychology professor, said, “We are always looking at what we could do to help students in terms of self-esteem and values, and they carry that with them wherever they go.”
Judith Malitsch, a biology professor, commented on how the teachers here are truly proud of the successes of their students. She mentioned the seminars held in the Biological Department, in which alums of the biology majors are invited to speak and present their research or work they are involved in to shed light on what current students could become.
“We are genuinely interested in the overall development of our students, and we don’t forget about them; we invite them back and involve them,” Malitsch said. “Faculty is a team—a caring community which translates to students. We are concerned over totality of students’ academics and personal matters that may encumber student.”