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Swarthmore Tops List of Liberal Arts College Best Values

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Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine: Best Values in Colleges

This 150-year-old school, located 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia, nabs first place [and third overall] for its mix of academic quality and financial aid. Not only do incoming freshmen post exceptionally high test scores (66% score 700 or higher on the verbal SAT, and 66% score 700 or higher on the math section), but Swarthmore also has a low student-faculty ratio and a strong four-year graduation rate.

Generous need-based aid brings the average cost for students who qualify to about one-third of the sticker price. Swarthmore is a no-loan school, which means financial aid packages consist entirely of grants and scholarships. While some students still borrow, the average debt for undergraduates who take out loans is $19,338, compared with an average of more than $31,000 for students at private colleges and universities who graduate with debt.

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