The Princeton Review selected University of Richmond for its 2014 list of 75 best value private colleges, praising its combination of academic opportunities of a large research university and advantages of a small liberal arts college.
Publisher Robert Franek said the best value schools offer "outstanding academics and affordability, either via their comparatively low sticker prices or generous financial aid awards to students with need."
Cindy Deffenbaugh, director of financial aid at Richmond, said that this year, students had received $66 million in grants and scholarships, and $60 million of that had come from the university's own resources. That $60 million was allocated primarily in the form of need-based aid.
"We are need-blind in our admissions process," Deffenbaugh said, "which means that when the admissions office decides the admissions, they do not factor in whether the student is going to receive financial aid. They don't even know.
"Only about 1 percent of the colleges and universities in the country are both need-blind and meet 100 percent. As an entire university, we made a commitment to being accessible and affordable for our students."
The university recently announced an increase to the income level in a financial aid program called Richmond's Promise to Virginia, which provides a grant equal to full undergraduate tuition, room and board for accepted Virginia residents. Families with incomes of or below $60,000 are now eligible, said Nanci Tessier, vice president for enrollment management at Richmond.
"This was one of the ways we could really show to the state of Virginia how important our home state is to us," Tessier said.
"I never want a student to say that 'I can't look at Richmond because it's a private school, and so it must be too expensive,'" she said. "I always say, 'Let us work with you. Apply to Richmond, and if you have earned admission, and if you have financial need, then we are going to meet it.'"
Miki Doan, a senior who has studied microfinance in the Dominican Republic, implemented a water project in Zambia and taught English in Thailand, said she was not surprised to see the university being selected as a best value school.
"The vast opportunities offered at UR have definitely shaped my perspectives for the better," Doan said. "I have not only had access to an excellent education, but I also made many meaningful relationships."
The college guide publication has named Richmond a best value private university each year since the book's debut in 2004.
"The University of Richmond prides itself on its practice of need-blind admission, and this school invests a tremendous amount of time and money in making it possible for lower- and middle-income students to come here," the Princeton Review says.
Contact reporter Sabrina Islam at email@example.com