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CCU among the 100 Best College Buys® for the 11th consecutive year

October 24, 2019
For the 11th consecutive year, Coastal Carolina University has been named one of the 100 Best College Buys® by Institutional Research and Evaluation, Inc.To qualify for the Best College Buys list, institutions must offer full residential facilities that include residence halls and dining services.To qualify for the Best College Buys list, institutions must offer full residential facilities that include residence halls and dining services.

For the 11th consecutive year, Coastal Carolina University has been named one of the 100 Best College Buys® by Institutional Research and Evaluation, Inc. (IRE), the only public institution in South Carolina to receive this distinction and one of only three schools in the state.

Institutional Research and Evaluation Inc. is an independent research and consulting organization which provides an annual guide to identify the 100 American colleges and universities that provide students the highest quality education at the lowest cost. The criteria to qualify for the Best College Buy distinction is strict.

• Institutions must be accredited, four-year institutions offering bachelor degrees.

• Institutions must offer full residential facilities that include residence halls and dining services.

• Institutions must have had a freshman class in Fall 2018 with a high school grade point average and/or a SAT/ACT score equal to or above the national average.

• Institutions must have an out-of-state cost of attendance in 2019-2020 for two semesters below the national average cost of attendance (or not exceeding it by more than 10 percent).

In-state cost of attendance (tuition, room, and board) at Coastal Carolina University for 2019-2020 is $20,930 and $36,684 for out-of-state students.

“The leadership at Coastal Carolina has certainly tried to keep tuition increases to a bare minimum over the past decade, but they do add up,” said Interim Provost Dan Ennis, Ph.D. “However, when you’re on a best buy list for 11 consecutive years, it’s clear that we have had a long-term commitment to really stretch the dollar.”

The national cost of attendance for out-of-state public institutions and private institutions averaged $45,406, according to the Annual National College Survey conducted by IRE earlier this year.

The Fall 2018 freshman class at CCU had an average GPA of 3.58. According to the survey, the national average was 3.46.

“This accolade confirms the effort by the University and its various constituent groups to provide a high-quality education at an affordable price,” said President David A. DeCenzo, Ph.D. “CCU continues to attract high-performing students because of our commitment to providing unique learning experiences that lead to valuable degrees that prepare them for work and life in the real world.”

Coastal Carolina University, regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, enrolls more than 10,600 students across undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level programs. Students can earn their degrees using a variety of delivery methods from on-campus classes to online-only classes, or a hybrid of both, while enjoying a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1.

The University also offers students a growing array of internship, research, experiential, and international education opportunities.

“When we talk about value, we talk about what we have to offer students, such as small classes, personal education, and opportunities for involvement,” said Amanda Craddock, associate provost for enrollment management. “As undergraduates, CCU students will be interacting with faculty from day one. Real, personalized classroom education and relationships with faculty are part of the value we provide.”

The other universities from South Carolina included as Best College Buys® this year are Anderson University and Charleston Southern University, which are both private institutions. Colleges are included solely on the basis of merit and do not pay to be included in the report.

“I think it’s a great distinction for us,” Ennis said. “Universities, parents, and students are concerned about student debt. We know the cost of higher education continues to go up. To be on a best buy list suggests that people see the value in what we do, and they see that we are spending our money wisely. They see that even though tuition is a major expense in their lives, that if they invest in Coastal, the value is there.”

For as long as Coastal has been on the list, the incoming college student population has been changing, said Ennis.

“We’ve seen a real change in the past decade or so. The students coming out of high school are versed to debt, aware of previous generations perhaps leaving school with significant loan debt and how that has some effects on early adulthood. Students entering college now are thinking carefully about how much to borrow and looking for ways to borrow as little as necessary. So they are looking for schools that do offer value, that do have lower tuition rates, that in some ways do offer a ‘best buy.’”

Such consistent recognition enhances the conversation college recruiters can have with potential students and their families about how the investment they make in Coastal is returned to them in the value of their degree.

“We look and feel like a private school but at the cost of a public school,” said Craddock. “We are invested in our students as much as they are investing in us.”