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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Princeton Review’s says UA is a college that pays you back

The UA has made the Princeton Review’s cut this year and was included in the newly released 2016 book,“Colleges That Pay You Back,” that features 200 of the nation’s colleges.

To compile the list of schools in the book, the Princeton Review looked at data from the 2014-15 school year from nearly 2,000 colleges, as well as information about alumni salaries from, according to Princeton Review Editorial Director Kristen O’Toole. Factors considered in selecting the top 200 schools studied included attendance cost, selectivity, financial aid offered and academics. The Princeton Review also analyzed surveys of student opinions that looked at student satisfaction with internship opportunities, financial aid and other parts of their college, according to O’Toole.

While the Princeton Review has used its own data to compile schools that it considers to have the best value since its 2003 top-20 list titled the “Best Academic Bang for Your Buck,” this is the second year the Princeton Review has used data from in its work, O’Toole wrote in an email. According to her, this is also the second year the UA has been on the “Colleges That Pay You Back” list.

While the UA was not in the top 50 schools on the list and therefore not given a numeric ranking, it was still featured in the Princeton Review’s book because it “presents a great value,” according to O’Toole. One major part of that was the UA’s tuition price and the average amount of financial aid it provided to students. After subtracting the average grant package students received from tuition’s “sticker price,” tuition was around $10,000 a year.

According to Rebekah Salcedo, the director of scholarships and financial aid at the UA, 86 percent of UA students receive some form of financial aid. At the UA, there are different opportunities for financial aid including need-based aid and merit scholarships. The school also features the Scholarship Universe program to match students to both internal and external scholarships based on a profile they fill out. This range of options for financial aid opportunities shows that affordability is “highly valued in our university community,” according to Salcedo.

“I think we work hard as a community to provide resources to our students,” Salcedo said.

Natalie Hamdan, a senior studying molecular and cellular biology, said she is here on scholarship and that resources like scholarships help her get “more for [her] buck.”

“Everything that I’m getting out of an education here at the UA is definitely worth the expense,” Hamdan said.

Beyond focusing on the finances of students while attending the UA, attention is also given to the financial state of UA alumni. O’Toole said that, with an average starting salary of $50,000 and a mid-career salary near $85,000, graduates of the UA can “count on strong earning power after graduation.”

But while O’Toole said that this kind of salary information is “a very important metric when it comes to looking at return on tuition investment,” it’s not the only information that is used to determine a school’s ranking. Using information from, the Princeton Review saw that 60 percent of UA graduates reported “high job meaning,” according to O’Toole.

“We believe that colleges pay their students back in more than just cold hard cash,” O’Toole said in an email. “The experiences students have on campus, the alumni network with which they graduate and the discovery of new intellectual and professional passions are all valuable parts of any college education.”

Gabriel Oladipo, a sophomore studying English and creative writing, said the UA has “definitely” given him a great education.

“I’ve been put in contact with various accomplished people that I actually didn’t expect to be in contact with,” he said. “Someone I’m working with now is up for a major literary prize. That was not something that I expected coming here, but it was a very welcome surprise.”

Follow Ava Garcia on Twitter.

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