Lincoln Trail College was recognized by EDsmart as one of the most affordable colleges in the nation. The Utah-based organization, which provides information to prospective college students and ranks colleges, named Lincoln Trail College as the 11th most affordable college in the United States.
EDsmart only considered colleges with an average net price of less than $3500 for their rankings. In addition to cost, they also factored in academic quality, student satisfaction, and the median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at 10 years after entering the school. They used data from the U.S. Department of Education websites College Scorecard and College Navigator.
EDsmart gave Lincoln Trail College a score of 90.2 based on their rankings. Among the things EDsmart cited was a poll that found 100% of students agree that professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes. They also noted that Niche.com gave LTC a grade of A in the categories of student life and safety. EDsmart highlighted the fact that LTC offers a very low cost of attendance and that 100% of students that attend LTC receive some form of financial aid or support.
“If you look at the other colleges on the list, you can see that Lincoln Trail College’s quality indicators stand far above the majority of the others found on the list,” says LTC President Dr. Ryan Gower. “Many people assume that low cost means low quality, but I’m very proud that at Lincoln Trail College, our quality indicators are the envy of colleges that charge more than two times what we do for tuition.”
LTC is joined on the list with the other three schools in the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges District. Frontier Community College is 17th, Wabash Valley College is 19th, and Olney Central College is 25th. While all four IECC schools have the same tuition rates, Gower says the financial support received from the Lincoln Trail College Foundation plays a major role in keeping the cost of attendance low for area residents. “Without their support, and the generosity of their donors, the net price for students at LTC would be much higher.”
Gower says the fact that all four IECC schools made the list means that high praise should be given to the Board of Trustees and the IECC leadership team for remaining committed to keeping education accessible for area residents.
Lincoln Trail College has received several accolades in recent years. Earlier this fall, LTC was named an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College, making the College among the top 15% of all community colleges in the nation. The Aspen Institute considers factors like completion rates and academic and workforce outcomes when naming their top 150 colleges. Lincoln Trail College has received that recognition five times. USA Today and schools.com rated LTC as the number two community college in Illinois while CNN Money named LTC as the top public two-year college in Illinois for student success.
Gower says it should be no surprise that Lincoln Trail is as successful as it is because the local K-12 schools do such a good job making sure students are college-ready. “We know when students come to LTC from the local schools, they are college-ready and ready to learn here. We continue to work with those students to make sure they are prepared for the next stage in their lives, whether that’s beginning a career after graduating from Lincoln Trail or continuing their education at a four-year university.”