Money magazine’s “Best Colleges in America” rankings for 2020 show North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the No. 1 historically Black college or university in the country.
Among all 739 institutions across the nation included in the rankings, A&T also has the fifth-lowest estimated annual cost to attend, at $18,500, tied with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Spelman College.
Of the Tar Heel State’s 21 colleges and universities included in the rankings, A&T remains the most affordable campus not included in the N.C. Promise program. With financial aid factored in, A&T is the second-most affordable campus in North Carolina with an estimate annual cost to attend at $9,800; for low-income students, that cost drops to $8,000.
An Aggie education also pays off handsomely for current and prospective students: A&T is second only to North Carolina State University within the University of North Carolina System in early career alumni earnings at $54,000. Only Duke University and Wake University perform better among the state’s private campuses.
It all adds up to a substantial rise in the magazine’s overall rankings, which place A&T at No. 442 – ahead of UNC System peers UNC Wilmington, UNC Greensboro, Western Carolina University, Winston-Salem State University, UNC-Asheville East Carolina State University and North Carolina Central University and ahead of Spelman, a private institution and the only other HBCU in the top 500. Last year, the university ranked at 656 out of 744 among all four-year schools included on the list.
In addition, A&T has the highest graduation rate – 53 percent – among the state’s HBCUs included on the list: Winston-Salem State, N.C. Central and Elizabeth City State. This year’s national rankings include 22 HBCUs.
“Our path toward preeminence is based on our core values of responsibility, excellence, integrity, inclusiveness and learning,” said Provost Beryl McEwen, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “This recognition of A&T reflects our commitment to a culture of intellectual inquiry, personal growth and achievement. It also acknowledges our mission to transform society with exceptional teaching, learning, discovery and community engagement.”
In building its seventh-annual “Best Colleges” rankings, Money focused on quality of education, affordability and outcomes using 27 factors based on data from the U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s college guide, PayScale.com in concert with the magazine’s own calculations with the American Institutes for Research. The institutions listed in the rankings met Money’s inclusion criteria: enrollment of at least 500 students; financial health; sufficient, reliable data to be analyzed; and a graduation rate at or exceeding the median for its institutional category or a high “value-added” graduation rate.
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